One Transfer To Save Liverpool’s Summer

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Keita, Van Dijk, Oxlade Chamberlain… rinse and repeat.  The 2017 summer transfer window passed the annoying stage several weeks ago.  Since the signing of Mo Salah, the remaining names on the list haven’t changed, neither have Liverpool made any apparent progress in getting these deals over the line.  All three would be big additions to a squad with more holes than the old Hitachi kit you have hanging in your closet, but one major problem in concluding these deals is that there is no finish line, no final price.  Southampton and Leipzig haven’t given Liverpool a number for different reasons, mirroring the game that we’re playing with Barcelona and if we’re serious about buying the Ox then we’ll be up against Chelsea and that will see numbers escalate exponentially.

There is one man who plies his trade at the foot of the Italian Alps who has a specific buyout clause but has never been linked to Liverpool. He would seem to be an ideal fit for the club and Jurgen Klopp’s system having scored 26 and assisted 7 in just 35 appearances last season.  Traditional centre forwards are not always a match for Klopp’s system but this one can run, press and tackle like a midfielder.

Best of all, he has a buy-out clause.  The number might be eye-watering at 88 million Euros, but in a post Neymar world, that is essentially the going rate for a 23 year-old with his numbers. This late in the transfer window we need certainties to work with, not ghosts to chase if we’re going to conclude any of these deals. So, although 88 million is an incredible number, it is a number, and we haven’t been able to pry a price out of the other clubs we’re dealing with.

Who is this man? Torino’s Andrea Belotti.

In a perfect world we would have added a world-class centre-back and/or a dynamic midfielder to elevate Liverpool to the level of European contenders, but those additions seem to be elusive at best.  At some point, just adding top talent and letting our world-class manager figure out the fit should be the priority.

At the moment the Reds have Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Divock Origi and Dom Solanke as strikers, and none of them can displace the false-nine number-nine; Roberto Firmino.  Our goals come from out wide, but Mané and Salah aren’t as clinical as a top striker would be.  Imagine a 4231 with Belotti flanked by Mané and Salah with Firmino behind him.  Picture Robertson and Alexander-Arnold’s perfect crosses actually having a target to finish them off.  Another player with superior skills in the air would do wonders for our set-piece defense as well, and with that much combined skill in attack we would pin most teams back so much that our defense would be under far less pressure.

Firmino playing behind the striker would take up one of the midfield positions where we are lacking in quality and creativity at the moment. The midfield two could be taken up by Can and Grujic and with size like that screening the centre-backs our defensive problems might become a thing of the past.

Aside from the balance it would bring and issues it would solve elsewhere in the squad, Belotti is the most dominant striker in Europe who hasn’t yet been snapped up by one of the perennial giants. He scores .7 goals per 90, and assists at a rate of .2 per 90. That compares to Firmino’s .3 goals per 90, and .1 assist per 90.

There are very few strikers who fit our system, and one could argue that we should snap them up whenever they become available as we have with Dom Solanke in a developmental role. If Liverpool don’t take this opportunity to bring in Belotti they’ll end up having to deal with him either in the Premier League or in Champions League competition for years to come.

While it may not have been the original plan, the €88 million for Belotti could actually be cheap compared to €75 million each for Van Dijk and Keita and deliver as much of a boost to the squad with less disruption. It might be a radical option, but it is a real option and how many of those remain with just days left in the window?

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  1. What a load of rubbish! Why would “free-scoring Liverpool” spend 88million Euros on a striker when our needs are clearly in defence and defensive midfield? This would clearly leave a hopelessly inadequate amount to spend on those areas where we need to spend the money. What a hopeless article!

  2. Your article is reasonably well research & written, but well wide of the mark. Simply put, we should find a young up & coming midfield destroyer & just throw £75 million at Southampton for VVD & be done with it. Lovren is terrible but more competition is essential at CB if Klopp isn’t going to bring back Sakho.

  3. Did you even read the analysis? Did you even see the part where he said he can help us with the set pieces? I think you’re just quick to say things without thinking through, two goals from set pieces against Watford is bad for a beam that will face teams like Bayer, Madrid, juve, Florentina later in the year. those teams have powerful strikers who actually know how to use head

  4. well you and I agree to Liverpool been a free goalscoring side even without a striker.I believe we stl need a man with precision up there.Mane and salah at times could be wasteful as we have seen.Trent and Robertson/moreno crosses into the box will definitely make the best defense in the world quiver but only with a precision rich strikes rich striker like belotti.88million for a 23yr old Italian striker of his calibre is in my opinion no waste of money but a quality addition to an attack that will contend with the likes of Real/Barcelona.

  5. Firminho creates problems with his movement. He drops deep as a number 9 and one of the oppos centre backs will compromise his positioning because of that. In turn this creates an opening for a quick wide player to drive into. Putting Firminho as a No 10 behind the striker would permit the oppo to retain their shape

    At the same time there would need to be some defensive discipline from him curtailing his movement, or dropping one of the wide players deeper, either way the space has gone and our ability to drive into space in dangerous areas is nullified

    Additionally an out and out finisher would also be stymied somewhat by our wide players being rapiers to score and not to stay wide and use their good foot for crossing to the main striker

    Isnt Studge a great striker, why not just use him? Why buy another when all evidence says that we are not set up to create for a single focus but to create movement and havoc. Firminho does that and should we get another striker that can emulate that movement then we are where we are now with a striker that would score less goals than strikers in conventional set-ups

    Even more, the midfield would be a man light with just 2 in midfield, one who cannot tackle and has no real top flight experience, in any case Henderson is same size as Can so I wouldn’t be playing Grujic in a double pivot at Henderson’s expense – that is crazy, one is a England mainstay loved by all his managers but maybe isn’t glamorous for some of our more myopic supporters. Firminho would not drop deep enough to cover spaces and in any case midfield creativity is not much of a problem especially should Coutinho stay or when Lallana returns, wasn’t too much of a problem against Hoffenheim. I certainly dont think bringing a striker deeper and replacing Hendo with attacking midfielder who has Scholes’ ability in tackling would improve our defensive problems which are mainly defender responsibilities – our rate of conceding in open player is not bad, it’s more the link between central defenders and full backs that causes problems, could be assisted by a midfielder staying deep when fullbacks bomb forward, but if we cant get that right now it wont be put right with Grujic expected to know when to cover; I dont think Grujic has started a prem game so far for Klopp, does that not tell you something

    So many think that as we have great attacking figures adding a finisher would mean we score even more – this I doubt; Klopp has created a system and your proposal hamstrings that system


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