Do Liverpool Need Greater Offensive Reinforcements?
Despite having one the most dangerous attacks in the world of football, Liverpool perhaps lack depth towards the final third of the pitch. Behind Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, the Reds have reaped the rewards of strategic recruitment following the early form of Portugal’s Diogo Jota.
However, after an injury sustained against Midtjylland on matchday six of the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp's team will be without their game-changing attacker for two months. So, because of that, do the Reds need to consider dipping into the transfer market?
The Impact of Jota’s Injury
Even those who aren’t fans of the reigning Premier League champions can agree that the Reds have had a torrid time of injuries in 2020-21. Just as Liverpool looked to be adapting to their absences, Jota suffered a knee injury that could keep him out until February. Although the situation is far from ideal, the Reds will be hopeful that their latest success story will be back for the first leg of their Champions League clash with RB Leipzig in February.
Although their first-team quality isn’t in doubt, the festive scheduling will push the club’s free-scoring front three to their limits. Of course, Klopp does have options that he could turn to, but none have proved capable of having a similar impact to Jota. Since moving to Merseyside in January 2020 from RB Salzburg, Takumi Minamino has struggled to adapt to English football. In his first 28 appearances in all competitions for the club, he has scored just three goals and provided one assist, as per Transfermarkt.
Furthermore, despite his Champions League heroics in 2018-19, Divock Origi has also never really found his best form in England’s topflight. Over the last two full seasons, the Belgian has found the net just seven times in 40 appearances. To put that into perspective, since joining Liverpool from Wolves, Jota’s bagged five goals in nine games.
Is the Solution under Klopp’s Nose?
Unfortunately for the Premier League winners, it is notoriously difficult to recruit during the January window. However, the club's supporters shouldn’t be quick to give up on Minamino. In the Japanese international’s defence, in his opening 11 topflight matches, he has only started three games. Adapting to both a new country and league isn’t something that happens overnight. As such, the 25-year-old requires time to find his feet and settle in.
Interestingly, a solution to Liverpool’s offensive dilemma could be right under the club’s nose. In the 2020 summer window, the Reds loaned Harvey Elliott to Blackburn Rovers. Since then, the 17-year-old has lived up to the hype in the Championship. In his first 13 matches under Tony Mowbray’s management, the former Fulham youth prospect has contributed to 12 goals. It’s a testament to his ability that Rovers' manager instructs his players to get the ball to the 17-year-old as often as possible.
While it remains to be seen if Klopp will recall Elliott, the winger would certainly offer something to Liverpool’s attack. As of December 15th, the Reds are 2/1 at Premier League betting to retain their title. With back-to-back triumphs the aim, there’s little to suggest that Elliott wouldn't enhance their chances of success.
Something to Consider
The next few months will be a testing period for the Merseyside team, but they have shown that they have the mentality to overcome adversity. In January, a defensive addition will likely be the primary objective, but should an attractive deal arise, then Klopp may be tempted to add to his offensive options.