Liverpool’s problem was clear for all to see at the weekend. They were the better team by miles at Anfield but they still managed to lose to their biggest rivals as Wayne Rooney found the net from Red Devils only shot on target.
Creating opportunities doesn’t appear to be an issue. In fact, the Reds had more chances against United than any other team has had this term. It is obvious then that the problem is up top.
Roberto Firmino has been operating in the ‘false nine’ role recently, and he has done a decent job. But he is not the sort of player to score goals consistently, he is more of a creator, a 10 goal a season man if you will. Christian Benteke clearly does not fit into the Jurgen Klopp ethos and the German boss has been robbed of the prolific Daniel Sturridge, impressive Danny Ings and the raw Divock Origi.
The Merseysiders may be forced to make a move for a forward in this window, if they are to avoid dropping out of the top four battle all together. Klopp is crying out for a player capable of pressing the ball but also finding the net. In Origi and Ings he has two footballers built in his image but he needs one now.
Here we take a look at five strikers that the former Dortmund manager could realistically bring to the club in the next two weeks.
The Rumoured One - Shane Long
Right, let’s get the one everyone is talking about out of the way. With Southampton securing the excellent signing of Charlie Austin at the weekend, talk is that a striker must be on his way out at St Mary’s. However, Graziano Pelle is supposedly off to Juventus in the summer and Ronald Koeman has regularly stated that he wishes to keep hold of Long.
The former West Brom man would fit into Klopp’s Gergenpressing style. His fitness is fantastic and he has the ability to get in behind defences, something Liverpool currently lack. The main problem is the fact he is hardly prolific. Long has never scored more than eight goals in a top-flight season and isn’t even a regular at Saints.
After the functional but underwhelming signing of Steven Caulker this wouldn’t exactly instil confidence on the Kop.
The Born Again Brazilian - Alexandre Pato
Roll back the years and this would have been seen as a major coup for any Premier League side, and it may well still be. Pato was a sensation as a youngster, making his debut for AC Milan as an 18-year-old and going on to score 51 times in just 117 appearances in Serie A.
Between 2008 and 2011 he was rampant but he was hampered by injuries in the 2011-12 season and his career in Italy dwindled as he struggled to find fitness.
He returned to his homeland of Brazil to rebuild his career and his confidence. After three years at home he is now keen on a switch to England. He is still only 26 years old and there is clearly a top level goalscorer in there somewhere. He has all the right attributes and is a gamble that could be worth taking, Klopp will just have to hope Chelsea don’t get to him first.
The Bad Boy - Saido Berahino
Now, Berahino clearly wants out of West Brom and Tony Pulis isn’t exactly keen on the England youngster. The Burundi-born striker was one of the top-flight’s hottest striker last term, scoring 14 times in the league and attracting the attention of Tottenham.
The Baggies rejected numerous bids from Spurs for the player and Berahino tried to force his way out of the club. That paired with his questionable off the field actions has seen Pulis pretty much ignore him, not even giving him a start in the FA Cup.
Would Klopp put up with the 22-year-old’s misdemeanours? It doesn’t seem likely but a bigger question is whether his style would suit. He’s not the hardest working of players and appears overweight at present, but he does have goals on his CV, and Premier League ones at that.
The Expensive One - Alexandre Lacazette
The French striker has been linked with a move away from Lyon for a while. That is mainly because of his scintillating campaign in 2014-15, which saw him score 27 times in just 33 Ligue 1 outings; not bad.
It’s seven in 17 for him so far this term in a poor season for Olympique, that’s hardly a poor return. He is a player who was heavily linked to the Reds in the summer and he has already said he would be interested in a switch to England in the next window.
If Liverpool want him now they would have to pay a little above the odds, maybe around £25m, but this is a player who at 24 has his best years ahead of him and would add pace, strength and goals, while adhering to the demands of Klopp’s system. If the mamger is confident he can offload at the end of the season then this may be a deal worth persuing.
The Surprise One - Borja Gonzalez Tomas Baston
Who? I hear you cry. Well, this young Spaniard is a big part of why Eibar are enjoying an incredible season in La Liga. The 23-year-old has found the net nine times in 17 matches and is a massive threat in front of goal, even winning La Liga player of the month in October.
He may be a big man but he is not of the Benteke mould. He has a great first touch and the capability to get in behind defences that the Reds crave. He scored 23 goals at Zaragoza last season before getting a move to Spain’s top division.
Granted, this would be a massive gamble but with his parent club Atletico Madrid already well stocked up top, with the likes of Jackson Martinez, Fernando Torres, Antoine Griezmann and Luciano Vietto, they could be willing to do business. This would be a huge curveball but Klopp is no stranger to giving players their chance and he may see this as a lower risk than splashing the cash on a big signing.