90min
Liverpool

Liverpool's interest in Watford's Ismaila Sarr makes a lot of sense

Ross Jackson
 Ismaila Sarr is a wanted man
Ismaila Sarr is a wanted man / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
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A lot of blame was put on Liverpool's threadbare defence for their abject title defence last season, but their attacking contingent deserved to shoulder just as much of it - if not more.

The Reds' faltering 2020/21 campaign only saw them concede nine goals more than in their Premier League winning season, yet they mustered 17 fewer goals.

Ismaila Sarr is on Liverpool's radar
Ismaila Sarr is on Liverpool's radar / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Aside from Mohamed Salah, Liverpool's frontline failed to live up to expectations, with summer signing Diogo Jota the only other forward to come out of the season with any real credit despite featuring just 19 times in the league for Jurgen Klopp's side.

The summer signing from Wolves did a great job of shouldering some of the goalscoring burden while Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were struggling for form, so 90min's recent exclusive that Klopp is again looking to bolster his frontline options with a pursuit of Watford's Ismaila Sarr should probably come as no surprise.

The Senegal international's preferred position on the right of a front three would mean he was in direct competition with Salah for a place in the starting XI.

However, he's proven on countless occasions to have the ability to cut in on his left as well as being able to beat players down the wing, so adding him to the squad would give Klopp cover on both the left and right of the front three.

Sarr's ability to run at defences as well as stretching teams with runs in behind is the type of play that's seen Liverpool thrive in recent times. And with Mane in particular failing to hit the heights of previous seasons, Klopp would be mad not to look for an alternative.

The youngster doesn't quite possess the sharp burst of pace or ability to wriggle past players like Mane, but he's by no means a slouch and when he's got the ball at his feet he's a nightmare to defend against.

The one criticism you could make of Sarr if he does seal a move to Anfield is that he's yet to really clock up the kind of goalscoring stats that are needed if you're to cement your place in Liverpool's front three.

Ismaila Sarr was key to Watford's promotion push last season
Ismaila Sarr was key to Watford's promotion push last season / Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The 23-year-old's best tally to date is 13 while plying his trade in the Championship last season, and he's never notched more than eight in a top-flight campaign.

However, you only have to look to Jota to know that shouldn't be considered as reason for the Reds to turn their attention elsewhere.

Prior to joining the Merseysiders last September, the Portuguese forward had a very similar goalscoring record to Sarr in that his best season came in the Championship where he bagged 17 for Wolves. However having joined Liverpool he looks a much bigger goal threat now he's playing alongside better players.

Not only did Sarr's tally of 13 come in fewer games than Jota's 17 in fact, the Portugal international was also playing in a much better side as Wolves ran riot in the 2017/18 Championship season. When you consider how similar the pair's records are and just how much of an impact Jota has made at Anfield, the move for Sarr looks a no-brainer.

The Senegalese forward poses a very different kind of threat to both Salah and Mane, but that's not to say he's not a brilliant player and having options on the left and right of the front three can only be a positive moving forward.

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez nearing comebacks from their long-term injuries and Ibrahima Konate's signing already in the bag, Liverpool should have absolutely no worries defensively next season.

The only areas of the pitch you could argue need strengthening are in midfield if Klopp wants to replace Georginio Wijnaldum - and even then he's got the ever-progressing Curtis Jones and the returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to turn to - and their frontline.

Securing the signing of Sarr would give Klopp another option if Mane's poor form continues or if Salah suffers a similar dip, and at just 23 he's the perfect profile for a Liverpool signing.


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