While many Liverpool fans quickly bought in to Jürgen Klopp’s plan to play Roberto Firmino as his main striker, a false nine who would regularly drop deep and open up space for a pair of scoring wingers in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, some took time to come around.
Those who had doubts about Klopp’s plan and Firmino’s talent spent much of last summer calling out for the signing of a 20-goal striker. In the end, Klopp was right—Firmino got 27 goals for himself and the front line combined to score 90 times in all competitions.
This summer, then, there will be no calls for the club to sign a 20-goal striker. There have already, though, been calls to upgrade the club’s striking options. But former Red Jamie Carragher, though, doesn’t want the club to go looking for a striker this summer, either.
“We don’t need a striker,” Carragher told Goal.com when asked what Liverpool need to do this summer. “We need a multi-functional player. Another Mane. You could probably play Mane up front—he can play left, right or up front, like someone like Alexis Sanchez can.
“There’s no point bringing in a striker to cover for Firmino and sitting him on the bench. You need someone who can come in and cover for one or two players, start games when he needs to, and compete with the others, [but] there aren’t many of those players around.”
The problem, at least on the surface, is that any player good enough to step in and replace one of Liverpool’s front three probably won’t be happy sitting on the bench. That, though, is where the benefit of bringing in another Mané or Sanchez rather than another striker is.
Liverpool will expect to play as many as 60 games next season, and while a player who can only cover for Firmino would be a clear second choice, a player who can swap in for any of the current trio would still likely end up with starter minutes over the length of the season.
“If Liverpool can find a really good attacking player who can play two or three positions, he will get games,” Carragher added. “He will almost play every week. Players need resting, the manager rotates. It is possible to keep them happy, but you have to find the right player.”
Nobody on the outside knows for sure who that player will be, but links this month to Lyon’s 24-year-old star Nabil Fekir are promising as he’s a player who can do a job as an attacking midfielder, winger, or even striker. The question now is whether the rumours are true.
Even if they aren’t, though, it seems a safe bet that that’s the kind of player Klopp and Liverpool will be looking for, and that Liverpool fans hoping for a first team striker signing this summer will end up disappointed—just as they were last summer to Liverpool’s benefit.