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"Liverpool can't rely on Salah, Mane & Firmino forever"

Discussion in 'The Football Forum' started by King Binny, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. King Binny

    King Binny Very Well-Known Honorary Member

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    https://global.espn.com/football/en...ne-could-they-sell-to-make-way-for-new-talent
    Article: Outside of a backup goalkeeper, a 17-year-old center-back with red hair and a 16-year-old winger, Liverpool haven't added any new players this summer. Before acquiring free-agent keeper Adrian on Aug. 5, the club hadn't made a single senior signing. (And since Alisson went down in the first half of the season opener vs. Norwich, Adrian's now the starting goalkeeper until further notice.)

    While the teams chasing them at the top end of the Premier League all improved in the final week of the summer transfer window, the Reds decided to stay put, not adding anyone who will likely contribute significant first-team minutes this season.

    Last year was about as good as it gets. Liverpool won the Champions League and racked up the third-highest points total in Premier League history. They did it with a team of players who all peaked together or whose best years were still years away. Among the 15 players who played at least 1,000 Premier League minutes last season, 14 of them were 28 years old or younger at the start of the campaign. The only player on the wrong side of 30 was James Milner, whose Premier League career will seemingly last forever.

    On top of that, there are plenty of "like a new signing" types who will be expected to contribute way more than they did in 2018-19. Naby Keita made only 16 starts in the league, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed all but 16 of the available minutes after tearing his ACL in the 2017-18 Champions League quarterfinal against Manchester City.

    If you wanted to zero in on a weakness from last year's first XI, it would be the lack of attacking output provided by the midfield. Keita and Ox are two young, dynamic passers and dribblers with track records of scoring and creating goals from deep. There's certainly a case to be made that they'll provide some internal improvement or at least help stave off some of the inevitable regression for a team that experienced significant good fortune at both ends of the field (89 goals on 90.92 expected, 22 goals conceded on 34.64 expected).

    Liverpool were one of the three best teams in the world last season. Milner remains the only significant contributor who is north of 29; barring an injury crisis or a season-long spell of rotten or impossible luck, Liverpool should be one of the best teams in the world once again. But Jurgen Klopp & Co. can't keep doing this forever. A squad that peaks together declines together, too.

    They were smart in seizing on the market for Philippe Coutinho and reinvesting the money in the spine of this new team, but will they be so savvy again when Spain's super clubs come knocking for one of their all-star forwards?

    In short, should Liverpool consider the unthinkable and break up their fabulous front three?

    Set pieces are great, and the same goes for Virgil van Dijk (who is "Mr. Indispensable" for the Reds), Alisson and cut-rate world-class fullbacks, but Liverpool have climbed this high thanks to their front three.

    Since Mohamed Salah arrived from Roma in the summer of 2018 to complete the trio with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have the second-most points in the Premier League behind the impossibly deep Manchester City. From 2010 to 2017, the club never made it beyond the Champions League group stages. With those three attackers, the club has reached the last two finals and won one of them.

    It goes further than that. Since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, Salah, Mane and Firmino have combined for 158 goals in the Champions League and Premier League. That's nearly two-thirds of the team's 244 goals over that span. Beyond those three, no other player still with the club has more than seven goals.

    Their value is obvious both inside and outside of Anfield. According to the CIES football observatory's transfer valuations, Liverpool's front three are worth a combined €521.6 million. Salah (€219.6m) is listed as the second-most valuable player in the world behind Kylian Mbappe, while Mane (€157.8m) is sixth and Firmino (€144.2m) eighth. Unsurprisingly, no other club has three players within the top 10.

    However, those values won't be that high for that much longer. Salah turned 27 in June; Mane celebrated the same birthday in April; and Firmino turns 28 in October. Most attackers start to decline right around this time. Take a star player, throw in a minor drop-off in production and you've still got a star player, just slightly diminished. But when it happens to three guys at once, the effect on the team's performance could be exponential.

    So Liverpool have a problem to solve. It's a problem they're lucky to have, but a problem nonetheless.

    They can keep all three and get the maximum amount of on-field production out of them over the next couple of seasons, but that would eventually leave them with a trio of declining, expensive older players whose transfer values will have greatly declined. (All three are on contracts that expire on the same day, too: mark your calendars for June 30, 2023.) Or they could try to sell high on one right before the decline comes, running the risk of missing out on another great season or two, but then use that money to find a replacement, reinvest elsewhere in the squad, or both.

    Among the front three, Salah is the untouchable. Over the past two seasons, he leads the team in -- deep breath -- shots, goals, assists, expected goals, expected assists, take-ons, chances created, big chances created, touches in the opposition box, sequences ending in a shot and sequences ending in a goal. Pick any attacking statistic that relates to putting the ball in the net and Salah is likely Liverpool's leader.

    As for Mane and Firmino, it might just come down to age vs. current value. Despite functioning as the team's de facto No. 9, Firmino provides an aggressive defensive presence and leads the team in through balls completed over the past two seasons. He's just two goals behind Mane over that stretch, while also offering 22 assists to Mane's 11. But Firmino is seven months older and Mane tied for the Premier League in goals this year, so the latter would likely command a higher fee.

    It seems absurd to even be considering breaking up one of the best attacking trios we've seen this century, but to remain competitive, the majority of clubs must constantly try to balance the present with the future. Time always wins. Every player eventually gets older and eventually gets worse, so managing a squad is a constant juggling act between making short-term sacrifices for long-term gain and vice versa, all while acknowledging that the whole point of this enterprise is to win as many points as you can, year after year after year.

    Only a handful of clubs can really afford to maximize the present and the future at the same time. Liverpool aren't one of those teams -- at least not yet.

    According to the most recent Deloitte Football Money League rankings, for the 2017-18 season, Liverpool recorded the seventh-highest revenue (€513.7m) in world soccer. That number, and potentially that ranking, will be even higher next time around. According to the Swiss Ramble, an anonymous expert in football finances, Liverpool's European Cup victory pushed their total revenue from broadcasting (Premier and Champions leagues, combined) up to €251m -- the most money any club has ever received from television.

    The club has plenty of money to spend, and a source who works with European clubs told ESPN that he expects Liverpool's revenue, on the back of two deep Champions League runs plus the Premier League's world-leading TV deal, to soon catch up with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, two clubs that can build for the future without having to sell off any of the present. However, Liverpool owner John Henry told The New York Times Magazine in May that the purchases of Alisson, Van Dijk and Fabinho would not have been possible had the club not sold Coutinho to Barcelona.

    Whatever their financial future, it appears that not much will change at Liverpool this season or perhaps even next season. But at some point soon, the club is going to enter into a new era -- for one reason or another.

     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  2. binomial

    binomial Active Member

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    Sometimes you can't win.

    First it was it's all about Gerrard and Torres, what would we do without them.

    Then Rafa got the sack and we were in free for all for few years signing cunts like Carroll Adam Downing and Borini

    We signed Suarez and Coutinho, then it was what would we do without them.

    We signed Balotelli and Markovic and ok it didn't quite work out.

    Then we signed Bobby Mane and Mo and same shit is being started.

    Hopefully the trend don't follow, we sack Klopp this season and then sign knob heads

    We know they make us tick, we brought them in for the purpose that they fit our style of play and
    enjoy their time at this club, not so the media could be a bunch of self absorbing arsecunts that they are and find the time in their short boring no good of a life and write a lot of shit no one even cares about.
     
  3. Mors

    Mors Well-Known Member

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    ESPN shouldn't worry about this, as we've got the Ox and Lallana as cover this season and they're like new signings.

    The front 3 don't look quite themselves though unless all 3 of them are out there, which is a bit worrying.
     
  4. Dreambeliever

    Dreambeliever Looking on the brightside Member

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    Brewster will replace one of them in the next two years
     
  5. hmmmmm1

    hmmmmm1 Very Active Member

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    The most interesting part of the whole story is....

    However, Liverpool owner John Henry told The New York Times Magazine in May that the purchases of Alisson, Van Dijk and Fabinho would nothave been possible had the club not sold Coutinho to Barcelona.
     
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  6. Vonblonberg

    Vonblonberg SCM Follower Member

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    What a load of shite.
     
  7. binomial

    binomial Active Member

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    I personally don't think he'll be here much longer if he's not given the opportunity this season.

    didn't really start many pre season games once we went on tour, didn't play in community shield or super cup....not in squad for Norwich.

    So not sure what Klopp's plans are for him.
     
  8. Modo

    Modo A contentious scando Member

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    Calm down...his time will come. Origi, Ox, Shaq, Milner will all be subbed in ahead of him atm
     
    SummerOnions likes this.
  9. SummerOnions

    SummerOnions Let's Push Things Forward Member

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    Brewster will get his chance in the league cup.. if he bangs a couple in his time will come
     
  10. localny

    localny Well-Known Member

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    FFS every team is dependent on a few players. It's FOOTBALL!!!

    Why are the press so determined with this narrative to make it a negative. Klopp and co have a plan. That you can be sure of
     
  11. Insignificance

    Insignificance Bad to the bone Member

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    Yeah they know they have to replace Bobby at some stage, but his kind of style is not to normal. Attackers like Salah and Mane will flourish in our set up and players who like to run alot and work hard from AM as well. But that skilled, hardworking unselfish type a la Bobby is hard to find or even create yourself. Yesterday deep into the game he lost the ball but traced his man down to out 16 yard line and helped out defending the counter. That action helps us winning as much as those 2 assists.
     
  12. King Binny

    King Binny Very Well-Known Honorary Member

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  13. iseered

    iseered Well-Known Member

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    Most articles about football are terrible, and this one is no exception.
     
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  14. Frogfish

    Frogfish Gone to Redcafe Member

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    It goes further than that. Since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, Salah, Mane and Firmino have combined for 158 goals in the Champions League and Premier League. That's nearly two-thirds of the team's 244 goals over that span. Beyond those three, no other player still with the club has more than seven goals.

    Virtually every club in the world, with few exceptions, are reliant upon their forwards for goals and most are dependent on just 3 or 4 players in the squad.  It's an awful article that states the reality for every club. The only main exception, and that is based on massive spending, is Man City.

    2018/19 Leagues only.

    PSG had only 4 players score more than 3 goals ! M'Bappe & Cavani scored 51 of their goals, almost 50%  just between those two (Mane & Salah 51% of ours), and 59% including Neymar. 76% including Di Maria's goals.

    Barca had only 3 players score more than 5 goals. Messi and Suarez scoring 64% of their goals !

    Real had only 3 players score more than 3 goals and only Benzema scored more than 8! Their top three accounting for 56% of their goals   Benzema alone scoring 32% of all their goals. In truth a massive drop off from 2017/18 when they had 9 players score more than 3.

    We actually had 6 players with more than 3 goals and 8 players with 5 or more in all comps. City had 10 players with 5 or more all comps. Barca had 6 players with 5 or more all comps.  Real had 6 players with 5 or more all comps. We are far from being an anomaly .. the writer should have focused on Real and Barca not Liverpool !
     
  15. Brizzle

    Brizzle Well-Known Member

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    Weird stat - how many clubs have a third striker scoring as many as [insert name of Bobby, Mo, Mane - whichever scored the least in that time]? That is what should be applauded, rather than how many our 4th or 5th top scorer has.
     
  16. mark1975

    mark1975 Moderator Moderator

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    It must be really irritating them that we've signed no one and yet we've won another European trophy and we are top of the table.

    Gobshites.
     
  17. keniget

    keniget Part of the Furniture Member

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    I guess I'm the only one that thought the article presents an interesting alternative take on things.

    Tough crowd.
     
  18. Mystic

    Mystic Moderator Moderator

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    Football team shouldn't rely on their forwards to score goals.

    Christ.
     
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  19. Brizzle

    Brizzle Well-Known Member

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    TBF the point it is trying to say is that all three will peak & decline at the same time - kind of like drawing three laffer curves and seeing them all overlap and mirror each other. Valid point but I guess the hard thing is to know whether any will start declining in 1 year, 2 years or 4 years etc.
     
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  20. keniget

    keniget Part of the Furniture Member

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    And crucially that we have traditionally had to sell big to buy big so the prospect of having to replace a world class forward line is something to think about and plan for.
     

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