Liverpool are as ruthless in attack as Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's forward ensemble can still improve without over-relying on one player
- Liverpool thrashed Spartak Moscow 7-0 to reach the Champions League last-16
- Liverpool and Manchester City have scored 62 goals in all competitions so far
- Jurgen Klopp's attacking ensemble has halted over-reliance on one player
- Adam Lallana could improve Liverpool's forward play further when he returns
Jurgen Klopp's side may have played two extra Champions League matches to qualify for the group stage but now, after a 7-0 win over Russian champions Spartak Moscow to reach the last-16, Liverpool have unquestionably clicked into sensational form.
Less than two months ago, in October 22, they looked as desperate as they ever have under Klopp after the emphatic 4-1 defeat by Tottenham. Since then, the football has hardly been better in the German's time at Anfield.
Liverpool have scored as many goals as Manchester City in all competitions this season
After a disjointed start, Liverpool are playing some of the best football yet under Jurgen Klopp
Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick in Liverpool's 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow?
In the nine matches that have followed, Liverpool have scored nearly half of their shots on target - 32 from 66 - while the defensive line has tightened to concede only six - although three in the 3-3 Sevilla collapse shows it is far from the finest shield from defeat.?
The combination of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is as formidable as any attack in the Premier League. City can certainly claim that Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling are as prodigious but in truth, there is very little between both.
A reason for Liverpool's slower start could be the Coutinho-Barcelona transfer saga, where the Brazil player sidelined until the window closed at the end of August. It was a further month - the 1-1 draw with Spartak Moscow on September 26 - when Coutinho started his first game alongside Mane, Firmino and Salah.?
It will be fascinating to see how Adam Lallana's eventual return to Liverpool impacts the line-up going forward.?
While he is not at Kevin De Bruyne's level in City's midfield, the playmaker has been imperative in Klopp's tenure and it will be hoped he has a similar impact when he is fit enough for a starting role - likely deeper in midfield. In turn, it is not a stretch to suggest he can add more to Liverpool going forward.
Adam Lallana is still to return for Liverpool from injury but has been a key man under Klopp
Mohamed Salah's 18 goals for Liverpool has already made him central to Klopp's team
Daniel Sturridge has been reduced to a bit-part role in Liverpool's squad this season
|Player||Mohamed Salah||Roberto Firmino||Philippe Coutinho||Sadio Mane|
|Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)||38||23||18||16|
|Shots, on Target||20||13||9||5|
|Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks)||23.68||26.09||27.78||25|
Salah has provided more than anyone can have anticipated following his summer move from Roma but he is far from the most ruthless finisher ever seen in Liverpool red, despite already have 18 goals to his name.
For instance, he missed a glorious chance one-on-one with Ederson against City at 0-0 in September (Liverpool lost 5-1) and failed to convert a penalty in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield.?
His form has been central to Liverpool's recent run though, with nine goals in nine, and he is as much of a key man as Liverpool have.
Yet one of the key works of Klopp in his three years at Liverpool has been to form an attacking ensemble.?
Liverpool sank like a stone in the last full season under Brendan Rodgers due to their reliance on Daniel Sturridge after Luis Suarez left. Now, Mane can be rested as Liverpool beat Brighton 5-1. Salah and Coutinho can be on the bench while they win at Stoke.
Mane scored twice as Liverpool ran out 7-0 winners against Spartak at Anfield on Wednesday
Klopp has been able to rest Coutinho and Mane in recent weeks in a busy fixture list
As exciting as Liverpool are going forward, the defence will underpin a season where Klopp will aim to lift his first piece of silverware at Anfield.?
Liverpool scored a sensational 23 goals in Group E of the Champions League but only won three games. That tally really should have seen them through with a game to spare, regardless of how exciting hitting Spartak Moscow for seven is.
But if Liverpool maintain this upward trajectory, they will head into any match with a genuine belief that victory is possible. That is a powerful thing.
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