With such a mesmerising front three featuring in every game, there is reason to suggest that there is a lack of an adequate Liverpool plan B when one of them is missing. Mohamed Salah missed the clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford and his absence certainly showed.
Liverpool Plan B Lacking for Jurgen Klopp
Overreliance on Front Three
Liverpool’s front three have started six of their opening nine Premier League fixtures so far this season. Of the Reds’ 26 goals this campaign, the trio have scored 15 of them. Their alternatives – which more often than not is Divock Origi – have scored just one between them.
As a result, there is evidence to suggest that they are overreliant on their front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have transitioned into a free-flowing, attacking side. It has seen the success story of their forward line develop, becoming one of the most feared sides in the Premier League.
However, when one of them is missing, conviction is lacking, and they find themselves suppressed by their opposition. While they always find a way, it could end up being a problem area for Klopp.
Replacements Not Good Enough
Mane, Firmino and Salah have created high expectations at Anfield. Arguably, it is similar to the attacking quality possessed by the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, in the sense that is almost second nature to the fans.
However, unlike those and several other sides across Europe, Liverpool lack replacements of a similar standard; and that is no disrespect to Divock Origi or Xherdan Shaqiri. These problems were evident during their 1-1 draw with Manchester United during matchweek nine of the Premier League. It showed a Plan B – or perhaps a starting alternative – was lacking for Liverpool. Origi could not create the same problems as Mo Salah. Whether that because the Belgian international was having a bad game, struggled playing out wide or could not cope with expectations set by his Egyptian counterpart is unclear, but it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
How Do Liverpool Fix Their Plan B Problem?
New additions? A change in formation when one of their front three is missing? It is a subjective matter, but new additions – or even recruiting old faces – could cure the problem.
Philippe Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich and arguably has suffered to deal with the expectations of his £142 million to Barcelona in 2018. While the German champions do have the option to sign the Brazilian, he will certainly be welcome back at Anfield if the option did arise.
Should he make a return to Liverpool, Coutinho will certainly answer their plan B problems. Arguments will arise as to how Jurgen Klopp fits so many attacking players into one side; however, rotation is the key. Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are the perfect example of this. It keeps their attacking players fit and keeps his squad in perfect togetherness.
Food for Thought
The argument for an adequate plan B is certainly food for thought. Not every substitution will work in Jurgen Klopp’s favour, as it did against Manchester United. Plan B is a project that needs be worked on, and potentially propel Liverpool to their first league title in 30 years.