The Liverpool squad players will await their chance to cement a starting role this season. Speculation usually surrounds Daniel Sturridge and rumours of possible transfer interest from other clubs are gathering pace. Both Sturridge and Divock Origi haven’t been automatic starters so far this season, with the former failing to recapture his very best form after a long spate of injury lay-offs. Origi looked to have emerged as a real asset until he too fell to injury late last season.
Jürgen Klopp has fashioned a squad which now includes squad players capable of playing in multiple attacking roles. Sadio Mané can be used as an out-and-out striker in certain games; Roberto Firmino seems comfortable anywhere along the attacking positions, including the false nine role he plays as well as anyone in the Premier League. This places further pressure on Sturridge and Origi, as Klopp usually doesn’t play a traditional striking pair.
Other players in the squad are also awaiting chances to gain a starting place, of note Emre Can, last year’s Liverpool Young Player of the Season. The fit-again German midfielder has yet to feature prominently in this season’s Premier League campaign because he has been eclipsed by the impressive form of new signing Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Reds are also without European football this season. Consequently, there are fewer games and fewer opportunities to play. Competition for places in the starting eleven is as fierce as it has been at Anfield for many years.
The fluidity of Liverpool’s attack shows in the scoring spread so far in this campaign. Firmino and Mané, along with Adam Lallana, are on three goals so far. Philippe Coutinho tops the scorers chart currently with four goals. Sturridge and Origi both have two League Cup goals, but are firing blanks so far in Premier League action. They’ll need to perform in all competitions if they don’t want to be left behind.
In Liverpool’s big games away in London so far this season, only Sturridge has started. The England striker started against his old club Chelsea, but exited early in the second half at Stamford Bridge to make way for Origi. In the other big games against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Klopp decided not to start with either striker. The Reds emerged from these fixtures with seven points, a fantastic return away from home. Liverpool’s past reliance on Sturridge’s goals and fitness has ended.
Klopp may be tempted to rotate his team against Swansea City. Following the away game in Wales, the international break pre-dates a massive home game against arch rivals Manchester United. Players like Jordan Henderson, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino, Wijnaldum and Mané should all feature for their national teams. The game at the Liberty Stadium provides an ideal opportunity to rest key players and also give valuable game time to players like Can, Origi and Sturridge.
Klopp usually does not play a traditional front pairing. The former Dortmund coach prefers an interchangeable front three and in this type of set up only one of Origi and Sturridge will start.
If Origi starts at Swansea could see the young Belgian striker at the tip of a three-pronged attack, in a 4-1-2-3 style. Emre Can could also come in at the defensive pivot point in midfield. If Sturridge starts, expect to see the work rate of Firmino alongside him with the speedy Mané making intelligent runs up top also in a 4-2-3-1 style.
Klopp has stated that he doesn’t see the need for as much rotation this year because of the lack of European football. Liverpool are currently in devastating form and the squad players must seize any opportunities they get.