News emerged last week that Daniel Sturridge has picked up another injury and is set to be sidelined until after the New Year.
Jurgen Klopp has been dealt a huge blow with the England international set to miss the busy Christmas period - the time of year that so often shapes the outcome of the final league table.
The German will have to go back to the drawing board and devise a new plan. Sturridge was likely going to be Liverpool’s star man upfront with attacks formatted around him.
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Instead, Klopp will have to spend a few extra hours in the office to devise a new formula throughout December.
There are three candidates who could step in for Sturridge, all of whom need to prove themselves.
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Given his hefty price-tag and record in the Premier League, Christian Benteke would be Sturridge’s obvious replacement.
The Belgium international arrived at Anfield for £32.5 million in the summer with a stellar reputation, forged by scoring 42 goals from 89 appearances for Aston Villa.
Benteke became Liverpool’s second-highest record signing and big things were expected of him.
The 24-year-old has certainly displayed all of his qualities during the first few months of his time in L4. He’s netted five times from 14 appearances and is a handful for any defender.
Benteke uses all of his physical attributes to his advantage; he’s built like an ox and is a beast of a specimen, and makes his marker know where he is at all times.
His bullet header in October’s league draw against Southampton and smart finish to land the three points for Liverpool against Bordeaux in the Europa League highlighted just what a nuisance he can make of himself in and around the box.
Benteke has the ability to strike fear into defenders before a match even kicks off. His daunting stature, matched with all the capabilities to score goals, means that he is a handful.
Although he has showed his talents, Benteke’s performances have been far from complete.
At Aston Villa, he was the star man with each of his managers in Birmingham playing to his strengths.
Despite the weighty fee he moved to the Merseyside outfit for, he is just another face, especially under Klopp.
Granted, the 48-year-old wants to build his team around certain individuals, much like he did with Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze at Dortmund, but what is more important is adapting to the style.
Benteke is a striker who wants the ball to his feet and crosses targeted to his head from wide areas.
This is not the style Klopp is philosophising. In Liverpool’s 2-0 loss to Newcastle United, Benteke was well below-par. His movement was not good enough and did not give the men in behind enough options.
The ex-Genk striker refused to adapt at St James’ Park. Jordon Ibe and Roberto Firmino both often lost the ball because they were searching for a run in front, but it was non-existent and they took too long to release it and were inevitably dispossessed.
If Benteke is to step up, he must sacrifice his preferred playing style and work towards Klopp.
From one Belgian to another.
Although Divock Origi is not quite as seasoned as his compatriot, he still offers his boss plenty of food for thought.
At 20-years-old, the ex-Lille forward is still trying to establish himself as a regular in the Anfield dressing room.
Origi was Klopp’s only available recognised striker when he took over from Brendan Rodgers in October and, although the Ostend-native struggled to come to terms with the responsibility, his effort could not be faulted.
After working with his new manager for a few months, Origi was again given the nod by Klopp at Southampton in the Capital One Cup. Clearly, having an extended amount of time with his boss worked a treat and he travelled back to the north west with the match ball clutched under his arm.
Whereas he was once tentative, Origi oozed exuberance and confidence at St Mary’s. His first goal was a touch lucky, but his second rocketed past Maarten Stekelenburg and to top off his hat-trick, he showed clever movement to head home Brad Smith’s cross.
Origi is willing to play however his manager wants him to and will jump as high as asked. He’s also blessed with raw pace and is constantly looking to get in behind the opposition’s rearguard.
His major problem is his inexperience. Not even 21 yet, leading Liverpool’s front-line in such an important and hectic period could be asking a little too much of him.
Origi has not been in English football six months and it was evident that he was given too much responsibility the last time. He is still adapting and, although he showed great improvement against Southampton, still has much to learn.
He’s certainly one for the future, but he’s already suffered a knock of confidence. It would be much wiser to faze him in gradually if he is to progress into the talent officials at the Reds believe he can be.
After such a lacklustre performance at Newcastle, Firmino will be desperate to rectify himself.
The 24-year-old cost Liverpool £29 million from Hoffenheim during the summer and the jury is still out on him for many supporters.
His performance in Liverpool’s victory at Manchester City was near faultless, and he also did a good job of holding the fort in his side’s win away against Chelsea.
Firmino acted as a ‘false number nine’ being the Reds’ furthest man forward but still dropped back deeper if required.
His rapport with fellow countryman Philippe Coutinho was astonishing, with the pair being responsible for Liverpool’s three goals in the first-half. Both understood exactly where the other’s run would be and the pair thrived off one-another.
On the road, this could be Klopp’s remedy. It’s tried and tested and was a significant factor behind victories against Manchester City and Chelsea.
Watford, who the Reds meet on December 20, have proved how organised they are this campaign at Vicarage Road but the high-pressing of Liverpool could undo the Hertfordshire outfit.
The Reds’ home form has been alarmingly worrying this season and it’s mainly due to their inability to put the ball in the back of the net. They’ve managed just eight goals from seven matches at Anfield and that tally needs to improve drastically.
Firmino isn’t a striker nor a natural goalscorer. Liverpool have enough trouble breaking teams down in L4 when a number nine who knows the role is in the starting XI, never mind an attacking midfield who would have to adapt.
If the Brazil international was given the duty by Klopp, it would make visiting team’s job to pile men behind the ball even easier.
Who would you like to see lead Liverpool's front line over the Christmas period? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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