5 players Liverpool should target to help provide cover up top

Liverpool’s front-three

A staple of Liverpool’s success in recent years has, of course, been their front-three.

The attacking trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, for a time, was viewed as one of the most deadly attacks in European football.

However, outside of that trio, Jurgen Klopp’s team has largely lacked any quality back-up.

Diogo Jota, who has spent the last several months out injured, is the only real player who has arrived at Anfield in recent years that actually looks like he could challenge one of the aforementioned trio for a regular starting berth.

Divock Origi, despite his heroics en route to the Merseysiders 6th Champions League title, just simply isn’t a good enough back-up option for the Reds.

And though Takumi Minamino has impressed in a handful of games for Southampton, Klopp obviously isn’t that keen on him, otherwise he would not have loaned him out in the first place.

So, even if Minamino returns to Anfield next campaign and is handed regular football, which seems unlikely, Liverpool probably need to add at least one attacker to their squad in the summer.

This comes with Firmino set to turn 30 in October, Mane 29 next month and Salah 29 in June.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Roberto Firminho of Liverpool celebrates with Mohamed Salah after scoring their sides fifth goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on December 19, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Adam Davy - Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 19: Roberto Firminho of Liverpool celebrates with Mohamed Salah after scoring their sides fifth goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on December 19, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Adam Davy – Pool/Getty Images)

Yes, that trio are obviously by no means past their best yet. But Liverpool do need to start planning for life after them.

Also, with the African Cup of Nations set to take place next season, Liverpool may well find themselves without both Mane and Salah for a number of games next term.

Therefore, if Liverpool do not want to regress as a squad/ be short up top next season, they should probably start looking to bring in some younger attackers who can compete with Salah and co. for the next few years before eventually taking their place as regular starters once the original trio are either moved on/ decline (an argument could be made that Firmino has began to decline already but that’s a whole other article in itself).

At 101, we have found five players who Liverpool could look to target to help provide cover for their current front-three.

Raphinha

Raphinha joined Leeds United during the delayed summer transfer window last year.

The Yorkshire outfit are believed to have paid Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais around £16m to bring the Brazilian to Elland Road.

And the former Sporting man has since gone on to enjoy a fine start to life with Leeds.

In 21 Premier League outings thus far, the winger has been able to provide five goals and five assists for the Peacocks, with his latest effort this sensational striker against Southampton:

Raphinha is a right-winger by trade, and this is the position he has predominantly played in for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

However, he is more than capable of lining out from the left flank, making him a potentially very useful asset for Liverpool as he could provide cover/ compete with both Mane and Salah.

And at 24 years of age, he is obviously yet to hit his prime years. He also, of course, has the added bonus of already spending a year getting used to the rough and tumble nature of the Premier League, something foreign stars often need a year to adjust for.

Lucas Ocampos

Lucas Ocampos joined Sevilla in the summer of 2019 from Marseille.

The Spanish outfit are believed to have paid around £13.5m to bring the winger to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

Ocampos has since established himself as an integral member of Sevilla’s attack, featuring 75 times across all competitions.

The Argentine notched 17 goals and five assists in 44 outings last season, playing a key role in Sevilla clinching yet another Europa League title.

The winger has since enjoyed a decent 2020/21, too, scoring seven and assisting four.

And though at 26 he is perhaps slightly older than Liverpool may be looking at for a future replacement for Salah/Mane, his age means he has a plethora of experience in Europe.

As already mentioned, Ocampos won the Europa League with Sevilla last term, and he has since been plying his trade in the Champions League this season – something he had also done with AS Monaco previously.

Ocampos to, is very versatile, being more than capable of plying his trade on the left and right flanks, and very occasionally through the centre.

Rodrygo

At 20 years of age Rodrygo is the youngest player on this list, but he is also probably the most expensive.

Rodrygo made the switch to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 from Brazilian outfit, Santos.

Los Blancos are believed to have paid around €45m to land the winger, which is a fairly hefty summer considering he had zero experience in one of Europe’s top-five leagues before the move.

The Brazilian has since notched 43 appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid. In said ties, he has scored eight goals and provided nine assists.

Much like the aforementioned players, Rodrygo is very capable of covering for both Salah and Mane.

He is largely seen as a right-winger now. But throughout his career to date, he has actually started more games from the left.

The Brazilian is also extremely quick and at 20, of course, had lots of room to improve.

As mentioned above, though, one of the main drawbacks with Liverpool potentially pursuing Rodrygo is the fee Liverpool may have to stump up to land him, with a recent report claiming Madrid would part with the winger for around €50m.

5 players Liverpool should target to help provide cover up top

MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 6: Rodrygo of Real Madrid celebrates goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid v Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu on November 6, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Antony

Like Rodrygo, Antony is a fairly young winger who only recently left Brazil for Europe.

The 21-year-old linked up with Dutch powerhouse, Ajax, in July of 2020, departing Sau Paulo for around £14m.

Given how much Ajax are believed to have paid for him, you would assume he would be sold for less than Rodrygo, who Real Madrid paid around €45m for.

However, with the Brazilian currently playing in the Eredivisie, there may be slightly more question marks around his ability to shine in the Premier League.

Antony has played four Champions League games this season, scoring one goal, though it was only against FC Midtjylland.

In the league, however, he has already managed to notch eight goals and eight assists in 22 outings.

Unlike the above-mentioned trio, though, Antony is only really used to operating on the right.

That is not necessarily a bad thing as Jota can play on the left. But if Liverpool are looking to sign someone to cover multiple positions, Antony probably isn’t their best bet.

Steven Berghuis

Our final player Liverpool could look to sign is most certainly not one for the future.

However, Steven Berghuis would almost definitely by far the cheapest option for Liverpool – something they may need to consider due to the financial constraints Covid-19 has put on many clubs.

He would also add a fair amount of experience/leadership qualities to Liverpool’s ranks.

Berghuis, now 29, joined Dutch outfit Feyenoord permanently in 2017.

The winger had previously been on Watford’s books, though he had only made nine PL appearances for a poor Hornets side, in which he provided two assists.

The now Feyenoord captain has since notched 81 goals and 58 assists for them, with 22 of those goal contributions coming in just 23 league outings this term.

And given his age and the fact he will have just one year left on his contract in the summer, it is hard to see the right-winger setting Liverpool back much money at all.

See also: Crystal Palace vs Manchester United betting tips: Preview, predictions & odds

Burnley vs Leicester City betting tips: Preview, predictions & odds

 

Liverpool’s front-threeA staple of Liverpool’s success in recent years has, of course, been their front-three.The attacking trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, for a time, was viewed as one of the most deadly attacks in European football.However, outside of that trio, Jurgen Klopp’s team has largely lacked any quality back-up.Diogo Jota, whoFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed

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