Jurgen Klopp has rarely had the strength at the forefront that he now has at Liverpool.
Despite the departures of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in the past 12 months, the arrival of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo in a similar time frame has given Klopp some exciting ways to mix up his attacking options.
A full and unbroken pre-season schedule for all five of Klopp’s senior strikers should mean there is plenty of competition for the top spots going forward.
Here, ECHO’s Liverpool FC writers assess what will shape Klopp’s ‘first choice’ front three going forward…
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Paul Gorst – Jota in the middle
There is no really clear answer to this particular problem for Jurgen Klopp, which at least indicates how much room for maneuver the Reds boss has when it comes to his attacking options next season.
For example, Cody Gakpo can act as the most advanced central midfielder to give Klopp the option to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation, while both Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota can also play to the left of those front three. as well as the Dutch international, who made a name for himself at PSV in that specific role.
A fully fit Luis Diaz is a significant piece of the puzzle for Klopp on the left, while Mohamed Salah is the undisputed first choice on the right.
Fifteen goals in his first season in all competitions was more than a hint at what Nunez can achieve in the future. Further adjustment to life in Liverpool – and an overall improvement for the team as a whole – should help Nunez build on an encouraging first year, as the silky-smooth, versatile Gakpo steadily grew in influence following his mid-season move from PSV. It can be an important season for the Dutchman.
Despite Jota’s ability to play a handful of roles, the former Wolves striker is at his best as a goal poacher, through the middle and in the penalty area. And given that Salah was over-relied on for goals last season, the Portugal international could help ease that problem with a lengthy spell in the team without injury.
Diaz takes the spot on the left and if Liverpool can get him back to the sort of form he showed in the second half of the 2021/22 season after coming from Porto he will add another dimension to the attack that just isn’t used to be. there last season.
Nunez and Gakpo are serious options waiting in the wings and the ability of a forward brimming with quality means Klopp will face goal threats all next season, whoever he chooses as his first choice.
My front three (just): Salah, Jota, Diaz.
Theo Squires – Nunez keeps luring me in
My initial answer to the question of what I think is Liverpool’s strongest front three isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Mohamed Salah on the right, Cody Gakpo in the middle and Luis Diaz on the left. The latter two are direct replacements for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, so that’s the path we’re going down. Next question, on.
But a nagging thought lingers in the back of my mind. It’s just not exciting enough. Where is the chaos and unpredictability? That’s right, Darwin Nunez keeps luring me in.
He’s a crazy bastard, isn’t he, but that’s why Kopites loves him. He makes things happen, and after a respectable 15 goals in his first season with Merseyside, the best is yet to come.
The Uruguayan came alive in his second season at Benfica, scoring an impressive 34 goals to pique Liverpool’s interest in the first place. At best, he is unplayable. If we see that version of the striker this season, with a better command of English and without the nagging injuries of last year, you can’t ignore him.
Those are all ifs and buts, of course. For now, he remains Jurgen Klopp’s wild card. But he could become the German’s MVP.
Salah is clearly starting on the right after yet another 30-goal season, although we will be ‘treated’ another month without his services midway through the season as he leaves for the Africa Cup of Nations. It’s a good thing Liverpool have enough depth for players to perform in his absence.
Meanwhile, now that he’s donning that famous number seven shirt, Diaz gets the nod to the left. He was the Reds’ best player before that untimely knee injury last year. Hungry to make up for lost time, let’s hope the Colombian can reach such exciting levels again.
If not, at least there is Diogo Jota in reserve who you can always count on for a goal. Gakpo Liverpool have found the best Firmino replacement Kopites could have hoped for. He could nod down the middle, if Nunez’s madness isn’t unleashed with devastating consequences for Premier League defenses across the country.
My front three: Salah, Nunez/Gakpo, Diaz.
Tom Cavilla – Salah the only certainty
Liverpool certainly have no shortage of quality attacking options, giving Jurgen Klopp plenty to consider for next season.
The departure of Roberto Firmino has cleared one place in this division, although the front three places on the side remain incredibly in demand.
We saw Darwin Nunez used at left and center in his Merseyside debut campaign, although the jury is still out on the Uruguayan. Cody Gakpo, who arrived midway through last season’s stage, could make a bigger impact in the same two positions and is therefore hard to miss.
Luis Diaz, meanwhile, became a player many fans had forgotten about during his lengthy layoff last season, although the Colombian should return straight to his left wing role after making a full recovery from his knee injury.
Diogo Jota also faced a battle to fight his way back into the starting eleven in 2022-23 after his four-month absence, although he remembered his quality in time with seven goals in the last games of the season. Despite this brilliant form, the Portugal international is best used as a game-changer in matches coming from the bench – something title-winning sides always seem to possess.
Mohamed Salah is the only certainty of Liverpool’s front three, the Egyptian once again coming to the team’s aid in moments of need for a dizzying sixth season in a row. You wouldn’t doubt for a second that he will see another amazing goalscoring return.
Nunez has the ability to deliver on a regular basis, but it will be up to Klopp to decide when and how to get the best out of the former Benfica striker. Should Gakpo falter, both the 24-year-old and Jota are ready to step up.
My front three: Salah, Gakpo, Diaz.
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