It is Time to Unleash Darwin
If the Reds’ disallowed goal against Chelsea last weekend had been ruled good, it would have taken a rampant Liverpool team into a 0-2 advantage against a team that was still finding consistency. Momentum would have been elevated even further, and the home support might have turned on their beleaguered Blues. The pre-match excitement of seeing four attackers shoehorned into the LFC side would have been justified by an early two-nil lead, until that second goal was chalked off due to the most marginal of offsides. At that juncture (and at 0-2), the game was headed in one direction, with all travelling fans salivating at the high score which was surely incoming. Inevitably, Chelsea regrouped, and for the remaining 75 minutes or so, Mauricio Pochettino was able to oversee his side controlling and outplaying their visiting counterparts. The all-out attack by Klopp was a brave strategy created by a lack of holding midfield assets in the squad. The coordination and structure of the 6-time European Cup winners drifted away almost instantly, which created issues all over the pitch, including the largely disjointed attack.
Who Should Drop Out of The Liverpool Forward Line…?
Many fans are quite rightly sold on the talents of Diogo Jota as a starting central forward. His instinctive play and knack for getting goals have always had me likening him to the former Old Trafford striker, Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He too was a superb chance taker who was a brilliant poacher in the 18-yard box. The similarities in their output can also be attributed to their physical and technical profiles. Our Portuguese forward is not the most blistering, not the strongest, not the best at build-up play, and at nearly 27-years-old, he still has not totally solidified his best position in the forward line. Simply put, the former Wolves player is a lovely option for when a goal is needed, though he is not ideally suited to a team looking to emit varying patterns of attacking play. For this reason, the recruitment team signed three differing forwards since the arrival of Jota, with Luis Díaz, Darwin Núñez, and Cody Gakpo, all brought in recently, all with qualities that put their stock higher than their teammate. I see Diogo as the perfect backup, rotation piece, or super sub, who will always be able to bring something different to a tight occasion. My worry is that he is not what is needed to link with the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, therefore I would probably prefer to see him drop out of the side this weekend.
Who Should Come into The Forward Line…?
After viewing some poor performances from both Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo against Chelsea, I would prefer to see Curtis Jones come back into the midfield and Darwin reinstated to the centre forward position. We are likely to see the on-ball possession stakes higher this weekend, therefore, I feel that an out-and-out striker with immense physical strength and speed would give our midfield architects something more to work with. The unpredictable nature of our Uruguayan Raging Bull will need to be reigned in a little, yet the confusion and attributes of the former Benfica striker would open avenues for a new and vibrant attacking force. Three points is an absolute must on Saturday, as there is such little room for complacency in this most competitive of seasons. In adding a new dimension to our build-up play (in Alexis & Dom), the allowance for time on the pitch with our new number 9 is vital to securing long-term success. There will always be valid arguments for what is best and where we should head, however, I am desperate to see our 6ft 2inch powerhouse unleashed on the Premier League, starting this weekend.
Despite last season being a struggle for much of the campaign, the initial year of Darwin saw fifteen goals scored, alongside four assists. This came amidst the crumbling of an empire and while struggling to adapt to a new league and language. The 2023/24 season represents a reboot for the whole footballing club, which has also seen the coveted number nine shirt awarded to our 16-cap international striker. This shirt could have been awarded to either Diogo or Cody, however, the fact that Darwin has received this honour is surely a testament to how Jürgen Klopp views the fiery player.
After a successful pre-season seeing four goals scored, I am keen to see the 24-year-old starting this Saturday, against a team that is still probably sore from their last visit to Anfield. Regeneration means just that, which should include the reemergence of our young and talented forward, not from an unfamiliar wide position, but as the tip of the Liverpool spear.