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Comparison 6 – Sterling/Suarez/Sturridge v Salah/Mane/Firmino
Since the moment Salah, Mane and Firmino became a settled trio up front they have faced comparisons with Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge. Those comparisons have begun to fade due to the success of the recent trio, but there are still those who compare them. It is not an easy comparison as Jurgen Klopp is light years ahead of Brendan Rodgers as a manager and has built a much better team around them, plus the style of play is different. Those things have to be taken into account when comparing them.
Goalscoring: I thought I would start here as this is the main job of an attacking trio. As a group, they all notch significant numbers of goals, but it must be pointed out that Sterling/Suarez/Sturridge were not facing the same kind of packed defences. The amount of space given to that trio certainly contributed to their ability to score, whereas the current trio are almost always up against teams that sit deep and deny them space. That hinders their chances of creating the time and space to get a clean shot away, yet they still score enormous amounts of goals. Because of the different styles of play, the quality of the teams around them, I find it impossible to fairly compare them, so I will call this one a tie.
Movement: The original trio had very good movement, especially their countering, which was probably their main strength. However, the current three have taken that to a whole new level and play with a flexibility and movement that is almost an art form. Teams know exactly what they are going to do a lot of the time, yet they find it impossible to stop them. Their counters are simply breathtaking and it has got to the point where Liverpool fans see a corner conceded by their team as a chance for them to score more than a fear of letting a goal in! Again they are aided by the brilliance of the team around them but it is clear that they offer much more movement and it destroys defences.
Workrate: While Suarez worked like a trojan, he was complimented by a good workrate from Sterling and Sturridge, however the current threesome are on a whole new level in terms of workrate. Whether that is down to management, with Klopp demanding so much more effort and desire than recent managers, or whether that is down to the players themselves is difficult to say. It is one of the reasons why this current group are winners rather than runners-up.
Teamwork: While the Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge combination was a good one, it did tend to rely more on individual ability than Salah, Mane and Firmino do. The current trio are a long way ahead of the old group.
Protection: The current three provide much more protection to the players behind them with their pressing than the older group. They are much better at the press, plus they are backed up by the team as a whole, which never happened in the Rodgers’ era. The press would be a little on the ramshackle side, with some dropping, some pressing, which led, in large part, to the horrible defensive record of that side. There were gaps everywhere as the press was inconsistently applied, unlike under Klopp (before this season at least) where the press is done as a whole team. Under Rodgers they seemed to do it more as a group of 4 or 5, while the rest would often not seem to know whether to back the press or drop off. All six track back, all six would close down the opponent on the ball and all six did provide some level of protection to those behind them but the level of organisation in their work is so much better in the modern trio.
Overall: To be honest, there is little real comparison overall, the modern three are much better as an overall package. Individually there is little to choose, but they play a team game and the modern grouping are much better for the team. To be fair they are playing for a better manager and as part of a better team, which makes it easier for them to understand their role and perform to a higher level. The original three never got to play together for as long a period and were working with a relatively inexperienced manager in his first big job and Rodgers was still learning. It was a job that came too soon for him and that contributes to the difference between the two sets of forwards.
Suggested by Utd Road
Written by Tris Burke November 19 2020 06:10:38