Jamie Carragher predicts that Jurgen Klopp may deploy a Liverpool line-up without a proven number nine for the Premier League opener against Arsenal due to high competition for places in his attacking line following the arrival of versatile Sadio Mane. The Anfield legend believes that the former Southampton winger and as well Ragnar Klavan have strengthen the squad but insisted that the German boss should still sign a new left-back before the end of the transfer window.
Klopp has made six additions to the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers last season in Mane, Klavan, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip, Loris Karius and goalkeeper Alex Manninger - while Marko Grujic has also joined his ranks after spending the second part of last season on loan at Red Star Belgrade following his January signing.
Yet, the boss has opted against signing a new number nine despite Daniel Sturridge's recurrent injury problems have remerged during the pre-season while Christian Benteke is expected to leave. Divock Origi is also an option to lead the line in the Premier League opener against Arsenal but Carragher suggests Klopp may start with a similar line-up to the one who recently trashed Barcelona 4-0 at Wembley, with Mane, Philippe Coutinho in the flanks and Roberto Firmino serving as a false number nine.
"I don't know if Daniel Sturridge will be the starting striker. Divock Origi played in a lot of the big games in Europe last season and has done well in pre-season. Sadio Mane is a very good signing. He can play in any of the four positions in attack and it looks like he will play on the right for Liverpool. They lacked pace and goals from those attacking midfield positions last year but his record suggests he will fix that."
"Roberto Firmino has been praised by Klopp as the player of pre-season and he likes him as a centre-forward, so there's no number one striker at Liverpool. There's three or four players going for one or two positions, which is a good thing for the team because nobody can rest on their laurels. The individuals would like to see themselves as first choice and relax a little bit, but this situation will keep them on their toes."
Carragher, meanwhile, has more doubts over Klopp plans for the midfield, being especially unsure over the role of former Newcastle star Georginio Wijnaldum.
"I like Wijnaldum but I'm not quite sure where his best position is or where he will fit in," he said. "It looks like he will play tucked in on the left if Liverpool play a three-man central midfield - but if they don't play that way then I struggle to see where he will fit in.
The former centre-back has also welcomed the arrivals of Matip and especially Klavan to bolster the back-line, but insisted Liverpool still need to sign a recognised left-back to fight with Alberto Moreno for the role.
"Ragnar Klavan has done really well since he has come in. With Kolo Toure leaving and the situation with Sakho, that is really important. Joel Matip has been injured, but Klavan has performed better that we saw from Matip in the pre-season games so I expect him to start alongside Dejan Lovren," he said. "James Milner has a good understanding of the game and great fitness levels, but of course Liverpool need to sign a left-back. They have sold Brad Smith to Bournemouth and you need two players for every position so they need someone else alongside Alberto Moreno.
"Milner did a good job against Barcelona but you certainly wouldn't to go into the season without one more recognised left-back."