It was yet another futile attack that showed itself for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool in the last match against Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Even though it looks like Daniel Sturridge will be able to make his much needed return to the lineup in the next match against Crystal Palace, the past two months have shown that having another elite striker on the squad is essential if the team wants to compete in both the Premier League and Champions League.
That hole was supposed to be filled by Mario Balotelli, but he has struggled to make his presence felt in the games that he has been in. Rodgers also brought in Rickie Lambert who was coming off a strong season with Southampton but that is looking more of an outlier than the norm, with the English striker. Both Lambert and Fabio Borini have not had many chances to make their case in supplanting Balotelli in the lineup.
As a result of the offensive struggle that the team has had, there have been many strikers that have been linked to the Reds, from Edinson Cavani to Gonzalo Higuain. However, one of the more realistic options, is CSKA Moscow’s Seydou Doumbia.
The Ivorian striker is Moscow’s second leading scorer with 6 goals despite only making five starts this season in the Russian Premier League. He has also shown that he can score against the best teams in the world with his 3 goals in the Champions League, two of them from the 2-1 win against Manchester City.
A player like Doumbia would be a welcome addition to the Liverpool squad since he does not necessarily need to start to get into the flow of the game; he can be brought on during the second half if the team is looking for a goal. He is an elite finisher in the penalty box and as such, is very good at taking advantage of the chances that are given to him by his teammates.
Positionally, he is well suited to being the lone striker of a 4-2-3-1because of his ability to hold the ball up top and he is quick on the counter-attack. That does raise the question of him being able to play with another forward. When he has two strong forwards, Rodgers prefers to use the 4-3-1-2 formation with Raheem Sterling in the hole behind the strikers. When Sturridge is healthy he is unlikely to be substituted off and this means that Doumbia will have to adjust his game a bit to fit in the team properly.
There are also a few other things Rodgers should think about before signing the Ivorian. If Doumbia is signed, does that signal the end of the Balotelli experiment? The Italian forward is not one who will take being demoted to the bench well.
Another factor is, even though he has scored against Manchester City, Doumbia has yet to play in a top European league. There will be an adjustment period but will the team be in a position to wait for him to get used to life in England?