Liverpool Team Analysis: A detailed analysis on why Liverpool should sign a certain striker with the qualities of Dortmund’s Erling Haaland
I have gone through Liverpool’s passed few seasons since they had the Mane-Firmino-Salah partnership and have seen their flaws in changing the team’s shape. I have decided to pen down this honest analysis on Why Liverpool should sign a ‘Erling Haaland’ type of player.
It doesn’t need to be Erling Haaland. I’ll use him as the focus because he’s a perfect example of the kind of player I’m identifying. Substitute your own. It doesn’t mean an end to Firmino at Liverpool. It does mean a general change of shape, but not necessarily system.
Reason why Liverpool needs a ‘Erling Haaland’: Change of Shape
First move would be a general shift from the tried and trusted 4-3-3 to a conventional 4-2-3-1. Firmino would revert to a more traditional #10, Salah and Mané the inside forwards, Erling Haaland the centre forward. The midfield remains an industrious safety net, wing backs remain key.
By allowing Roberto Firmino to drop deeper, offering a free role between a #10 and his brand of a 9, he is able to press and hassle, recover the ball, link play, challenge for duels and do all that enabling without being the sole centre forward. He will more oftenly have options as well as greater support.
In Liverpool’s 4-3-3, Firmino is often a centre forward. Stylistically he doesn’t usually behave like one, at least not an offensive, traditional goal threat of a CF, but positionally that is where he is. He either moves up to the point, or moves back to form a kind of 1-2 as a #10.
Movement, pressing and everything mentioned that he [Firmino] performs in that area does allow those half spaces to open, which is where Salah and Mané have generally done really well for Liverpool.
My question is: can you have that input AS WELL AS having a more direct central threat?
This is Why Liverpool should sign a ‘Erling Haaland’ and
This is where Erling Haaland fits in this Liverpool team.
Stylistically he is going to play on the last man. He is going to force defensive lines back and, in combination with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, force them to be compact. The benefit for wing-backs or Full backs here would be obvious. LFC [Liverpool] have two of the best in that position(Full backs) in the game.
- Liverpool may not sign defenders this winter window
- The Football traditional no 9 or the bona fide no 9 role
- Who is a mediapunta in football?
- The modern football goalkeeper
What Erling Haaland offers is strong hold-up play through control, great timing, a strong all-around skill set for finishing, incredible accuracy in his shooting, sharp movement in the box and a deceptively strong set of physical attributes. He is a dream to have around the penalty area.
Erling Haaland’s Bundesliga stats since joining Dortmund in January 2020
23 goals in Bundesliga, 14 xG.
63 shots, 57% on target
43% Dribble success
63% Passes to penalty area accuracy
63% Defensive duels won
As 20 year old striker, he’s currently quite flawless. For the level he’s currently at, he could play in any club. In 3-6 years? The sky is the limit.
Haaland offers pure finishing from central areas. Liverpool offer industry, pace, relentless attacking from wide FW and inside FW positions. What Erling Haaland offers, Liverpool currently lack. A target man on the end of crosses, a target man offering viable, constant danger through the centre
The midfield would probably change, Firmino becomes closer to the other two (ideally two of Henderson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Thiago), and those two become pivots or anchors(depending on the opposition they face too). They cover wingbacks and offer 2nd phase progression from centre backs. Firmino is now an attacking midfielder.
Meaning, him [Firmino] or whoever that #10 is would essentially act as the third midfielder. In quick transitions, it becomes closer to their regular 4-3-3 with wide midfielders tucking in as full backs.
It would require a lot of positional sense from Firmino (which he has in abundance) in knowing when to support the attack and when to cut the passing lane to the free man in space. Thiago would also be another option in this #10 role vs a very rigid or low block system.
Salah and Mane remain as they are. Jota rotates with them. Minamino and Shaqiri can play Firmino’s position. Haaland would be the only CF but that’s something Klopp can think about. It’s possible for Salah to play there (but not ideal). The options will fit quite naturally.
Liverpool maintain threat from outside to inside areas, threat that saw Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah become renowned. Roberto Firmino drops into a more suitable area. More time and space. More teammates ahead of him. Haaland is in his element with some of the world’s most dangerous creative goal scorers.
The need for change or evolution is realized, Liverpool become infinitely less predictable and therefore more dangerous if you put Erling Haaland in that team.