16 Oct 2015

Anfield Emergency: Klopp confirms £21m Liverpool star 'could' change positions and 'play as a striker'

What is it with Liverpool and strikers? Whether it's buying the wrong players (Balotelli, Lambert, Borini), or being derailed by injuries (Benteke, Sturridge, Ings), the Reds just can't seem to catch a break. If - as is entirely possible - Sturridge gets injured this weekend, Liverpool will be left with Origi as the club's only (fit) senior striker, but fear not! New Reds boss Jurgen Klopp as a plan, and he outlined it during his pre-Spurs press conference on Friday.

When asked about Liverpool's lack of fit strikers, Klopp claimed that two fit strikers is enough, but told reporters:

“Firmino could play as a striker. In this moment – for the next game – we have Daniel for the position and we have Origi".

Klopp confirmed that Firmino is out of the Spurs game, but it's clear that he sees 'exciting' attacker as a possible centre-forward option for the future.

At Hoffenheim, Firmino - who cost Liverpool an initial £21m (rising to £29m) - spent the majority of his time (98 games/65% of overall appearances) as a central attacking midfielder.

However, he also played as a centre-forward/second striker on twelve separate occasions, and did superbly well:

* 7 goals/3 assists in 12 games as a central striker.

* Goal/assist every 1.2 games (1 every 108 minutes).

Clearly, Firmino is capable of influencing games as a striker, so even if Sturridge gets injured again, Liverpool have an effective Plan B to implement.

After a stop-start beginning to his Liverpool career, Firmino is yet to establish his best position in the team, and given the obvious positional conflict with Coutinho, perhaps there's a case for converting the Brazilian into a full-time striker?

Like Coutinho, Firmino's best position is number-10, and if Klopp plays his preferred 4231 formation, there's only room for one player in that role.

That said, in Klopp's teams, the attacking three behind the striker stick very close together, so it's not a huge problem if Firmino plays on the left of Coutinho.

Under Rodgers, Firmino averaged a pitiful 39 minutes of pitch time per game, which partially explains his failure to make more of an impact.

This should, however, improve under Klopp, who reportedly tried to sign him for Dortmund.

Firmino the striker?

Author: Jaimie K


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