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The £63 million transfer void FSG and Liverpool have to fill this season

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Liverpool is an entirely different proposition to a decade ago. Gone are the days when big-name departures were the norm: 10 years ago Raul Meireles was following Fernando Torres out of the door to Chelsea, hot on the heels of the sales of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano in the two preceding summers. Today, Liverpool have arguably not lost a key player since Philippe Coutinho in January 2018. However, a deep squad and a sprinkling of Michael Edwards magic has ensured that transfer revenue has continued to flow into the club — not least from the striker department.

Remarkably, in the last three years, Liverpool have raised £63.2 million from the sales of Dominic Solanke (£19.8 million), Danny Ings (£20.4 million) and Rhian Brewster (£23 million). None of the forwards were first team regulars when sold, and yet the trio rank eighth, ninth and 10th on Liverpool’s all-time record sales list.

Incidentally, Brewster can take some encouragement from the company in which he finds himself. Ings exploded with Southampton after a quieter initial loan season, while Solanke has come alive in the Championship this season with 15 goals and 11 assists. Sheffield United are surely yet to see the best of Brewster, who is still only 21. Nonetheless, each of the three fees are hugely inflated compared to the position the players held in the Liverpool squad.

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As a result, Liverpool and FSG find themselves with a problem heading into this transfer window. There is one remaining viable candidate for the position of striker cash cow: Divock Origi. The Belgian forward is reportedly for sale for around £20 million this summer. However, since the mass striker exodus began, not a single out-and-out replacement has been signed. Takumi Minamino and Diogo Jota both provide options within the forward line, but the departure of Origi would leave Roberto Firmino as the only recognised number nine at the club.

While flexible forwards are very much in the mould of the team Jürgen Klopp has created, it would surely be remiss to enter the new season with such a dearth of true strikers. Origi’s multiple iconic moments from a bit-part role show the benefits of having a classic, instinctive forward to call upon. Such moments have been fewer and further between of late, but selling him would undoubtedly leave Liverpool short in the striker department.

The urgency of acquiring a belated replacement for this string of sales is exacerbated by the persistent talk of moving Firmino into a deeper role. The Brazilian ultimately finished the campaign with respectable numbers, chalking up nine goals and seven assists. However, where he truly looked best was dropping deep, creating space with clever touches in the midfield. There is surely a thought in Klopp’s mind about moving Firmino deeper on a more official basis as the striker approaches 30.

With all this in mind, particularly if Origi does become the latest striker to depart, it might be time to start reinvesting some of that £63 million, if not to boost the current squad then to improve future transfer funds from potentially saleable assets.

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