Jayden Danns: Liverpool’s Secret Weapon in the Title Race

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Jayden Danns Could Be the Last-Ditch Option for Klopp

Against both Manchester City and Manchester United recently, Liverpool failed to get the decisive goal that would have sent them top of the Premier League, or delivered them a place in the FA Cup semifinals. Despite a plethora of opportunities and entire second half displays (in each game) that should have secured two wins, the reds were left ruing their luck and more importantly, their missed opportunities.

How Should Klopp React When That Goal is not Forthcoming?

It is so easy to point to the infamous plan B, when plan A is failing to bring what is desired. Throughout my years watching English football I have witnessed the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Duncan Ferguson, and even the great Robbie Fowler (in his second spell at Anfield), called from the substitutions bench to try and find that all important last goal of the game. It can often seem that all opposition goalkeepers save their best performances for when they face the Merseyside giants, which is why it is so important to have a natural goal scorer or an agent of chaos that can ruffle the feathers of the rearguard under assault.

Photo: IMAGO

There was a time when the reds former on loan defender, Steven Caulker, was thrust into Jürgen Klopp’s forward line, as a last-ditch option at salvaging that which was slipping away. Despite the fanbase consistently calling for this or that from their comfortable armchairs, there must be some degree of clarity in how this team attacks, instead of resorting to that which we mock our noisy neighbours for. In this period where the current squad has been shorn of the predatory Diogo Jota, the EFL Cup winners have certainly missed that poaching instinct within the penalty box.

The repeated efforts of Cody Gakpo have too often failed to deliver at critical times, whereas both Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah cannot be relied upon time and time again. What is required is a young and explosive goal scorer who can enter the field late on in games, one who can exploit the fatigue of the adversary with youthful brilliance. After seeing the rise of Jarell Quansah, Conor Bradley, and Bobby Clark, this season, I am now convinced it is time to release one more academy graduate who could play a significant part in how this campaign ends.

Is Jayden Danns Ready for Such an Important Role?

For whatever reason, this current clutch of young players seems infinitely fearless and intent on gatecrashing Liverpool v2.0. Often, the Liverpool support have had to wait multiple years before seeing a wonderful asset emerge from the underage group and succeed in the first team proper. Trent Alexander Arnold was the last homegrown player to explode onto the scene, which is making this glorious season of regeneration even more exciting.

Regarding the son of Neil Danns, Jayden seems to have a wonderful blend of everything certain teams used to demand in an out and out central striker. In the previous ten to fifteen years, the false nine and selection of inverted and deep lying forwards, have seen the more traditional strikers relegated away from the front line. I grew up watching the likes of Ian Wright, Robbie Fowler, Les Ferdinand, and Alan Shearer, who all played high and through the middle, with a clear intention to get on the end of service that was built around the centre forward.

Photo: IMAGO

Through the era of Jürgen Klopp, the wide forwards have taken on the mantle of the highest order volume goal-scorers, given the outrageous efficiency of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. Though Roberto Firmino was elite in his all-round play, his goals from the central position were never relied upon, which is why Diogo Jota was recruited to add more depth. As the evolving nature of the side stepped forward even more so, Darwin Núñez was signed for a record fee to become the tip of the red spear. Despite the Uruguayans tremendous abilities, he can still be guilty of indecision in front of goal, which is why I am keen to see the England under-18 captain, Danns, utilised more in the closing stages of games.

Though it is very early days in the senior career of the 18-year-old, the movement, hold up play, and natural ability in front of goal, must be something that is harnessed when the moments call for an asset more clinical. Liverpool have two more trophies on the table and the inclusion of this tenacious goal getter, may turn those tough games into wins. The fearlessness of so many has created pure joy and expectation this year and I hope to see the reds glorious German manager throw his young forward into the fray more and more, as he could become a deciding factor in what is won and what is lost.

Steven Smith

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