Intellectually, we all knew that The Front Three of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah would end someday. And, as the days and months passed in recent seasons without any of Mo, Bobby, or Sadio renewing, that “someday” became “someday soon.”
Still, few of us were emotionally prepared for the day when The Front Three would be no more. As it turns out, Mané was the first to go, but Firmino and Salah are likely to depart next summer.
Again, intellectually we can be glad that we got to watch these three play together for 5 full seasons (and Sadio for 6 seasons). We will look back at their highlight packages and YouTube compilations for years to come. We will be the grizzled, old, Liverpool fans, telling younger generations what it was like. Intellectually, we can tell ourselves “don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened.”
And yet, we can still be heartbroken that we will never get to see Mané kick a ball for Liverpool again. We’ll never see Mo, Bobby, and Sadio terrifying backlines across England, Europe, and the world again. Those glory days are officially in the past.
However, the sun always rises, and the evolution of “The Front Three” is already well and truly underway. Indeed, it’s not completely inconceivable that the season kicks off without any of the OG Front Three starting the first match (Mo will almost certainly play almost every match, barring injuries, but my point remains).
Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz have already shown that they have what it takes to lead the line for Liverpool. And Darwin Nunez looks to be some player. I can’t wait to see what these exciting attackers—as well as Mo and Bobby, and fellow new signing Fabio Carvalho—look like after a preseason with Klopp.
You could say that we struck gold (and goals, obviously) with Mo, Bobby, and Sadio, but the recruitment team that identified them, and the couching staff that trained them up to be superstars, are all still in place.
It was always going to end, and you could argue that it has been ending for awhile. Over the last couple of seasons, there have been times when Bobby, Sadio, and even Mo Salah have all looked as if their powers were waning. In Sadio’s case, his lackluster start of the season was rejuvenated by a move to central striker. It was a good short term solution, one that saw us kick on and nearly win the lot.
But we always needed long term solutions to replace these rapidly fading stars as they all ended up on the wrong side of 30. Our recruitment team has been busy identifying and bringing in those replacements.
Will the New Front Three match the OG Front Three? It’s unlikely. And that’s, in a way, OK. We never replaced such talismanic strikers as Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, or Daniel Sturridge. Strikers, by their nature, are unique and produce their iconic moments in their own ways.
They cannot be replaced. Their iconic moments cannot and will not be replicated.
But there are new, exciting, and yes, iconic moments yet to come from Darwin, Luis, and Diogo.
The Front Three is Dead. Long Live The Front Three.