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 few 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 season 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.
Yes, the trio are obviously by no means past their best. 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.
Therefore, if the Reds do not want to regress as a squad, 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 deadly trio are either moved on, or badly decline (an argument could be made that Firmino has begun 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 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 strike against Southampton:
🤯 Something special isn’t he? pic.twitter.com/8JwuWcclFo
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 24, 2021
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 for and compete with both Mane and Salah.
At just 24 years of age, meanwhile, he is obviously yet to hit his prime years. Raphinha also boasts the added advantage of having already spent a year getting used to the rough and tumble nature of the Premier League, something foreign stars often need a year to adjust to.
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’s ideal target age, the attacker boasts a plethora of experience in Europe.
As already mentioned, Ocampos won the Europa League with Sevilla last season, and has since been plying his trade in the Champions League this time around – something he also did previously with Monaco.
Ocampos, too, is very versatile, more than capable of plying his trade on the left and right flanks, and even occasionally through the centre.
At 20 years of age, Rodrygo is the youngest player on this list, but he would also probably be 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, a fairly hefty sum considering he had zero experience in one of Europe’s top-five leagues before the move.
The Brazilian has since notched 43 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid. Across these outings, he has scored eight goals and provided nine assists.
Much like the aforementioned players, Rodrygo would be capable of covering for both Salah and Mane.
He is largely seen as a right winger. But, throughout his career to date, the youngster has actually started more games from the left.
The Brazilian is also extremely quick and, at just 20, has lots of room to improve.
As mentioned above, though, one of the main drawbacks when it comes to Liverpool potentially pursuing Rodrygo would be the fee which may be required to land him, with a recent report having suggested that Madrid would part with the winger for around €50m.
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, Antony would no doubt be available for less than big-money Rodrygo.
However, with the Brazilian currently playing in the Eredivisie, there may be 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 came against FC Midtjylland.
In the league, though, he has already managed eight goals and eight assists in 22 outings.
Unlike the above-mentioned trio, Antony is only really used to operating on the right.
That is not necessarily a bad thing, however, 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.
Our final player whom Liverpool could look to sign is most certainly not one for the future.
However, Steven Berghuis would almost definitely be the cheapest option – something the board at Anfield 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 only managed nine Premier League appearances for a poor Hornets side, across which he provided two assists.
The now Feyenoord captain has since notched 81 goals and 58 assists for the club, with 22 of his direct goal contributions having come in just 23 league outings this term.
Given both his age, and the fact that Berghuis will have just one year left on his contract in the summer, though, it is hard to imagine the right winger would set Liverpool back much money at all.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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