Talking Tactics: Reds' new-look attack is finally clicking into gear
Liverpool’s front three appear to have found their groove.
Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo each contributed two goals in the Reds' incredible 7-0 demolition over Manchester United, while Mohamed Salah had a hand in a whopping four strikes.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino had long joined the Egyptian as Jurgen Klopp's leading trio but the former left for Bayern Munich in the summer and the latter is set to depart at the end of the season upon the expiry of his contract.
Fortunately, the new arrivals are beginning to show signs that they are capable of filling the shoes of their predecessors.
Ahead of this afternoon's clash with Bournemouth, we take a look at how the revamped front three are starting to gel.
Liverpool’s squad is in need of a major refresh with an ageing midfield failing to perform consistently.
However, Salah remains the star man at Anfield and any new-look side will still be built around his attacking talents.
The 30-year-old is the Reds' top scorer in the Premier League with 11 strikes this season.
Not only is he Liverpool's chief source of goals but he is also their most creative player. The Egyptian has provided seven assists and created 47 chances, the most in the squad.
Gakpo as a false nine
Ever since Firmino has been phased out as a regular starter, Liverpool have missed his false nine profile in attack.
Gakpo was seemingly replicating this role against United, dropping in to help overload the midfield and leaving Salah and Nunez high and wide to drive into space.
Gakpo is used to being deployed centrally, having played as a striker for the Netherlands at the World Cup — scoring three goals in the process.
His familiarity with operating in central areas will surely help him adapt to his manager's demands going forward.
Virgil van Dijk has been a general in defence for Liverpool since making his debut in January 2018 and the 31-year-old was full of praise for his compatriot Gakpo.
Van Dijk said: "The winter’s a difficult time for any player to come into any club but he’s settling in very well. It’s a difficult position to play.
"He has to keep going, keep the confidence, keep the belief. I think he will be fine for this club, he’s a fantastic player."
Nunez's brace against the Red Devils also impressed the Dutch defender.
He added: "Darwin’s causing chaos all the time with his speed, his passion and also the quality.
"The front three are very clinical. It’s been a difficult season but this was a great day."
Nunez's hefty £64million price tag ensured expectations were lofty for the Uruguayan when Liverpool prised him from Benfica last summer.
The 23-year-old is often criticised for a lack of clinical finishing — a valid complaint, given he has missed 17 big chances in the Premier League so far.
However, Erling Haaland — the league’s top scorer with 27 goals — is the only player in the division who has missed more (18).
While Nunez has some way to go to match the Norwegian's goal tally, a high number of missed chances is clearly evidence that the striker is getting into good positions.
His end product is improving, which is bad news for the rest of the division.
The front three Klopp deployed against United certainly caught the eye with their devastating display but Liverpool boast another exciting forward in their ranks.
Luis Diaz was the talk of the town last season when he signed from Porto in January, notching seven goal contributions in 960 Premier League minutes.
He was enjoying a productive campaign this term, too, scoring three goals in eight matches before getting injured against Arsenal in October.
His electrifying energy will certainly be a boost to the Reds and the competition for places can only lead to elevated levels from Liverpool's forwards.
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