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Striking options - The Red Debate
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In the wake of recent mutterings on Twitter about Liverpool looking to ‘invest heavily’ in a striker in the summer many Liverpool fans have been speculating.

Klopp seems to be set on the idea of making Salah as the central striker a genuine option. It seems as though he’s been flirting with the idea of getting players with a multitude of attacking qualities whom can all rotate round. It seems as though the idea of what a striker actually is in our system, therefore, has changed a bit.

I think if you asked Klopp to disregard money and cherry pick a ‘striker’ from another side in world football he’d pick Mbappe. He loves him.

“I love him,” Klopp said after our 3-2 win against PSG at Anfield. “I saw videos of him when he was 17 and he destroyed defensive lines as he is doing now.

“He’s an outstanding player, that’s clear, but he can deliver, deliver and deliver.

“What a player, what a player.”

That said, I don’t think there’s necessarily a particular ‘type’ of Klopp striker. Look at the type of striker he’s used in his past: Lewandowski, Barrios, Immobile, initially Origi at Liverpool & latterly Firmino. They’re all so different.

Sadly we don’t live in a world where financial limitations don’t exist & restrictions don’t apply. City & PSG seem to, but alas, the rest of us don’t. In such a world Mbappe would leap at the chance to work with Klopp. Who wouldn’t?

We’re now developing a squad whom any player in world football would probably like to come and be part of. We’re now dining at the top table.

I’ve had a look at 5 strikers whom I reckon you could drop into this current squad & take us to another level. 5 strikers who, when you’re in the pub & talking football with mates, you may say:

“Yeah, we’d win the league if we had….”

Grab a pinch of salt, but I’ve picked 5 players I could see Klopp both really liking & also feeling he’d have a chance of picking up. Whilst different in their qualities, they’re all united by being winners.

We’ve been linked to players like Luka Jovic, Arnautovic and even someone like Timo Werner (whom I personally don’t ever think will be operating at the very highest level, despite his obvious ability). These are all good footballers. They’re not footballers, however, whom you think would immediately take us to the next level in the way Van Dijk and Alisson seem to have done.

Chris has been plugging this point for months, incidentally sparked by my saying that we could do a lot worse than pinching Mitrovic from Fulham if they go down. Chris’ point is that we don’t need that. We don’t need someone to bridge the gap between your Solankes and your Firminos.

A ready made one:

Icardi scored the winner in the Milan derby this season

As listeners to our podcast will know, we rate Mauro Icardi. I had to put Chris on an Icardi ban because he was finding a way to mention him on every episode, regardless of the running order. We really rate Mauro Icardi.

He’s a proper number 9. A modern-day Gabriel Batistuta. His movement is sublime. He can finish in any manner & he’s ruthless. He’s the ultimate pantomime villain. The villain who gets the standing ovation on the West End.

He’s a wrong’un, but he’s a deadly striker & he’s on red hot form. A protracted, and ill-advised, love affair (and now marriage) with his ex Barcelona & Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez’s then wife has seemingly hampered his international opportunities. That aside, he’s got Premier League written all over him. He was the first name to come to mind when the rumours of a striker surfaced. One of our followers said they’d leave their wife if it meant Icardi could come to Anfield. You just know Anfield would fall in love with Icardi, baggage & all.

An ‘oh so close’ one:

Fekir vs St Etienne (17/18)

There’s nothing quite like licking old wounds.

Capable of the sublime. It was almost inevitable that it would be him to score the winner at The Etihad when they played City in the Champions League. He was bloody brilliant that evening. The celebration, down on both knees. What a footballer.  On the eve of the Lyon derby he’s in the headlines again. I bloody loved it when he took his shirt off and held it up to the St Etienne fans. That’s proper snide behaviour & I love it. Us Liverpool fans can get behind that. Us Liverpool fans love a bit of that in our ranks. Remember that fella we used to have in 2014?

Part of me still thinks this is going to happen. An increasingly large part.

I reckon there’s a solid chance I’ll wake up with a twat of a hangover on New Year’s Day and see the full-length version of that unveiling video.

He’s not strictly a striker, but he’d come and operate in one of the front 3/4 positions. In truth, they’d all interchange. They’re all mustard.

A ‘curveball’ of an option:

He’s 29 now. Real Madrid will almost certainly drop a fortune on a forward in the summer. Vinicius Jr seems to be emerging as a threat to his position.

Overall he’s been a shining star for Real Madrid in one of the most successful generations (in Europe at least) in their illustrious history but for whatever reason he hasn’t always been adored by the Madristas.

We tweeted the other day about his ludicrous 12/13 season being one of the best individual seasons we’ve ever witnessed, ranking alongside Ronaldo’s 07/08 and Suarez’s 13/14.

Bale is criminally underrated & still scores goals.

I can’t see this happening in a month of Sundays, but I’d be fairly sure that at some point he’ll come back to play in England & it would be rather nice if he tucked himself up in North Wales & made that short journey through the Queensway tunnel each day to Melwood. He’d love it. He’d be idolised here.  He’d be back in his beloved Wales, eating as much rarebit & welsh cakes as he could get his hands on; Harry Wilson as his lodger. Imagine the scenes.

A gamble:

Dybala’s trademark celebration

There were mutterings about Dybala at the end of the summer window. I’m never particularly gripped by reports of clubs ‘monitoring’ players. Dybala‘s a top player – of course we’re keeping tabs on him, that’s literally the purpose of scouting networks.

I don’t know about Dybala to be honest.

I’ve never really fancied him, particularly not as a Premier League footballer. But then, I thought the same about an Atleti Agüero when we used to get linked to him. “Too small” I used to think. “He’ll get bullied” I used to think. Look how that turned out. Stylistically, Dybala reminds me of a young Agüero. I’m not just making that comparison because of his nationality. It’s more because of their stature & the way they both glide into space with and without the ball, with a speed seeming to defy their natural pace. Agüero still to this day surprises me with how quick he is.

Dybala’s got that same star quality about him. That mystique. An intangible something that excites fans whenever the football’s near him.

I don’t think he’s the perfect fit, but if he’s available and Klopp wants another star, he’d be an exciting signing for sure. It would be a gamble (far more so than the other players in this fanciful list) but he’s certainly got the talent & Klopp’s a master nurturer.

An old one:

Barcelona owe us a shit tonne of money still. A large part, allegedly, is Suarez debt.

You reckon Michael Edwards wasn’t in their ear about Luis when he was negotiating that €100m LFC tax?

I don’t really know why or how, but I seem to be seeing a lot of Suarez on my Twitter timeline these last few weeks. Why is that? Are we at a point where we can simply marvel at his brilliance without holding him leaving against him? Is it in part because we all know full well he’d be unreal in this full throttle Klopp side & we’re letting our imaginations wander?

I feel like I’ve blanked out the pain of his leaving from my memory. I genuinely can’t remember the emotion. What I can recall however, is an inkling that he’d come back one day.

We mock Man United for Cristiano’s “10-year loan spell”, but in truth, he’s their idol. He’s the player fans will tell their grandchildren about. I love the fact that they hold even the slightest hope he’ll be back. For Suarez, I do too.

The day I saw the news that Rafa was bringing Robbie Fowler back roll through onto the Teletext Page was one of the best days in my Liverpool supporting life. Fowler was pure love. Suarez? Suarez would be something else. Suarez is still the archetypal flat-track bully of a centre forward. He’s still a phenomenal player.

The Anfield crowd and its adoration gives footballers, and particularly strikers, something extra. Imagine Suarez coming back. Imagine the noise. Imagine the madness.