DANIEL MATTHEWS: Jurgen Klopp has a £250m headache with his new fab five in attack – he must find a formula to keep them all happy as he builds his second great Liverpool team
- Klopp has all five of his elite forward line fit and available for selection again
- Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz all seem set to fight it out for minutes
- Mohammed Salah and Cody Gakpo appear to have secured starting roles
Jurgen Klopp limped away from The Kop, clutching his hamstring as he headed towards the tunnel.
The manager’s head must have been pounding, too. Not just from the adrenalin and emotion of Diogo Jota’s last-gasp winner.
But because this victory over Tottenham leaves the Liverpool boss with questions as well as answers. Well, one in particular: how best to arrange his attacking arsenal, now five are fit and firing?
It’s a £250million question.
Not the sort of headache that will garner much sympathy from his peers, admittedly.
Liverpool’s win over Tottenham has thrown up questions on how Jurgen Klopp should manage his forwards
Klopp appeared to pull his hamstring whilst celebrating Liverpool’s winning goal, scored by Diogo Jota
Luis Diaz (left) returned to the Liverpool starting line-up, Jota (centre) scored the winner and Darwin Nunez (right) cost Liverpool £85million
But one for Klopp to resolve as this new look Liverpool head into a new era.
Sunday’s win saw Luis Diaz (who cost up to £50million) mark his first start in more than six months with a goal.
It was created by new No 9 Cody Gakpo (£44million), who after a slow-ish start on Merseyside now has two goals and two assists in his last four appearances.
Mohamed Salah (who last year signed the club’s biggest ever deal) netted Liverpool’s third to take his tally to five in five.
The injury-time strike from Jota (£41m) was his fifth goal in his last four Premier League appearances. He has an assist in that run, too.
Oh, and Darwin Nunez (£85m) enjoyed a late cameo as well. 20-year-old Fabio Carvalho (£7.7m), meanwhile, watched from the bench.
Roberto Firmino is en route out of the exit door this summer but, for all the strife of this season, Liverpool have built a formidable array of attacking options heading into next year and beyond.
Issues of form and fitness have meant at least one has been out of the team since the turn of the year.
Mohammed Salah (left) remains Liverpool’s best attacker and has the highest attacking output this year, while Cody Gakpo has seemingly become Liverpool’s first choice No9
20-year-old Fabio Carvalho, meanwhile, has seen minutes from the bench limited this term
Now, though, Klopp has a fab five at his disposal. Now he must find a formula to keep them all happy.
European football would make it easier to shuffle his pack but still: Klopp’s system means at least one will always miss out – from the start at least. But who? Diaz made such an impact after joining last January and showed dazzling reminders of his tenacious, talented best against Tottenham on Sunday.
Salah remains Liverpool’s greatest attacking weapon and his goal tally this season – 28 – is nearly double that of anyone else. No one can match his 11 assists, either.
Salah’s goal against Tottenham took his record to 28 goals and 11 assists so far this season
After injury problems and a barren spell, Jota is proving his worth once more with his intelligence and knack of scoring crucial goals.
Gakpo has seemingly established himself as Klopp’s first choice No 9, with the Dutchman’s link-up play, dribbling and industry beginning to shine.
And then there is Nunez, who at 23 is a brilliant bundle of chaos. It has been a challenging first season but still the Uruguayan has amassed 15 goals and four assists.
Klopp has a headache to deal with, but is spoilt for options as he tries to re-build Liverpool’s team
The striker is popular with supporters and has bags of room to improve. But he has started just one of Liverpool’s last seven matches.
Liverpool didn’t pay a club-record fee to leave him on the bench. They know his game and his language skills will develop as he acclimatises to life on Merseyside.
For now, though, Nunez might have to make do with limited chances. Klopp’s first great Liverpool team was built on the consistent brilliance of Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane.
With more weapons comes more decisions. But also more possibilities? It will be fascinating to see how this attacking unit develops. And how Klopp manages this headache.
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