Liverpool's Salah Absence | Tactical Frontline Shift
|Liverpool's Egyptian striker #11 Mohamed Salah scores his team fourth goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 20, 2023(Image-Getty)
Liverpool's Tactical Puzzle. Navigating Salah's Absence and Exploring Frontline Alternatives
Jurgen Klopp faces a strategic challenge as Mohamed Salah's absence disrupts Liverpool's usual frontline setup. With the talismanic Egyptian possibly sidelined due to an AFCON-related injury, Klopp must reevaluate attacking dynamics for the upcoming match against AFC Bournemouth.
Enter Harvey Elliott, a rising star who has excelled in cup competitions but often found himself on the bench in Premier League appearances. Salah's absence opens the door for the 20-year-old to showcase his talents on the right side of Liverpool's attack. Dominik Szoboszlai's potential return in the central midfield trio adds further flexibility.
Elliott's recent performance, including a Salah-esque left-footed goal against Crystal Palace, highlights his goal-scoring ability. Klopp may opt for Elliott to address the creative void left by Salah and the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, particularly in delivering passes and crosses into the box.
Statistically, Elliott's passing and crossing prowess stands out, making him a viable option. Liverpool's passing stats reveal Elliott's contribution, ranking third in chances created per 90 minutes.
If Elliott doesn't start, alternatives like Jota or Cody Gakpo could play centrally, flanked by Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz on the left and right. Liverpool's impressive FA Cup win against Arsenal showcased Nunez's effectiveness on the left wing and Diaz's menace down the right.
Despite Salah's absence, Liverpool remains unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League matches without him, recording seven wins. Klopp has a wealth of alternatives, including fit strikers Nunez, Gakpo, and Jota, all having recently contributed to goals. Additionally, Elliott and Diaz offer promising options on the right flank.
While Salah's absence poses challenges, Klopp sees this match as an opportunity to assess and experiment with diverse attacking strategies, ensuring Liverpool maintains its competitive edge.