Over the last two seasons, Liverpool’s first choice front three have proven that they are among the best attacking units in world football, with even the best defences being given plenty to think about by Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. As a strike force, they are as good as any other in the Premier League and quite possibly the best.
However, the absence of any of that front three would instantly cause Liverpool fans to shudder. Right now, the only backup to Salah, Mane and Firmino are Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri (who hasn’t always been in favour at Anfield and was injured on international duty this weekend), teenager Rhian Brewster and Harry Wilson. While the Reds got past Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals without Salah and Firmino, they could thank Origi for coming up with two priceless goals on a night when the La Liga champions were complacent and spooked by a raucous Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp may have been able to do without two of his main frontmen that night, but what happens if one or more of them is out for a prolonged period next season? For Liverpool fans, it must be dismaying to read reports from some media outlets that the club are willing to let Wilson leave for £21million, with Derby and RB Leipzig among those interested in the 22-year-old Wales international.
When Klopp’s backup striking options are thin as it is after Daniel Sturridge’s departure, it would be most foolish to allow a player of Wilson’s talents to slip away so easily. While he has only played once in a competitive game for Liverpool, an FA Cup replay win over Plymouth in 2017, a terrific loan spell at Derby in which he scored 18 goals in 49 games has thrust him back into the frame for his parent club.
Salah, Mane and Firmino will not be easily dislodged, but it’s worth keeping in mind that all three are set to play in international tournaments this summer, and their respective teams all have a strong chance of going the distance in those competitions. That would leave the trio with very little recuperation time before the start of the season and history suggests that Liverpool cannot afford a slow start to the campaign if they are to challenge for the Premier League title again.
The Reds will also have extra commitments in the shape of the Club World Cup during a hectic December, so Klopp ought to be bolstering his squad rather than trimming it. Wilson is returning to Anfield in magnificent form after his season at Derby and has been a regular presence for Wales in the last year. Just as Origi emerged as an unlikely hero for Liverpool this season, Wilson could do likewise over the next 12 months – if he is given the chance he deserves at Anfield.