Sunday 19 May 2019

'Well below par' - John Aldridge expresses his concerns over Liverpool's front three

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their third goal with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their third goal with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool's front three of Mohamed Salah, Saido Mane Roberto Firmino are suffering from a World Cup hangover and need to click into top gear in Saturday's Premier League game against Tottenham, according to Reds goal scoring great John Aldridge.

Salah, Mane and Firmino have scored seven goals between them as Liverpool started the season with four straight wins, but Aldridge believes the dynamism that turns Jurgen Klopp's attacking trio into the most feared attacking unit in English football has been lacking this season.

"I think the front three are suffering from a World Cup hangover because we have not seen the best of them yet," believes Aldridge. "While all three have scored goals, their displays have been well below par in my eyes and there are reasons for that.

"Salah had a horrible end to last season as he was man-handled out of the Champions League final by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and then tried to play for Egypt at the World Cup when he wasn't even close to being fit. Now he is still trying to get over all of that emotional and physical strain.

"Firmino has also looked off the pace so far after his exploits with Brazil in the summer and while Mane has scored four goals in his first four Premier League games, he has lacked the consistency we expect from him as well.

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"The fact that Liverpool have won their first four games of this season with their front three not firing on all cylinders is bad news for the rest of the league, but they have a tough run of fixtures coming up now and they need Salah, Mane and Firmino at their best."

After the Tottenham game on Saturday, Liverpool will face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League next Tuesday and with a game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a tricky trip to Italy to face Napoli and a top of the table clash against Manchester City at Anfield all on the horizon in the next month, Klopp's side are set to have their trophy winning credentials severely tested.

"It's a run of fixtures that could shape Liverpool's season," adds Aldridge. "They deserve credit for getting a maximum 12 points on the board in the opening month of the campaign, the real business is about to start and the performance they put in at Leicester in their last match will not be good enough.

"There is no doubt Liverpool are a better side now than when they lost 4-1 against Tottenham at Wembley in the opening phase of last season, but the big tests are coming now and we will see how far they have come."

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