This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday evening, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher explained his theory behind why Liverpool didn’t sign Nicolas Pepe.
The Reds were strongly linked with a more for the Ivory Coast forward after he hit 22 goals in Ligue 1 last term, although a move never materialised and he ended up joining Arsenal in a deal worth £72m.
Carragher told Sky Sports (via the Liverpool Echo): “Nicolas Pepe normally plays right-hand side, coming inside on his left.
“That’s why Liverpool never took him, there was lots of speculation, but he’s a Mo Salah type of player really.”
Signing Pepe would’ve cost Liverpool a significant amount of money, which definitely should not have been spent on a player who wouldn’t even get into Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.
As Carragher mentions, Pepe’s best position is out on the right where he cuts in on his left foot.
Although the new Arsenal No.19 can also play as a centre-forward, Roberto Firmino plays in that role and does a superb job as a false nine, performing a task that is of huge importance to Klopp’s system – he is arguably the most vital cog in the attack.
That leaves just one other forward position over on the left, which is occupied by Sadio Mane – a man who won the Golden Boot along with Salah last term with 22 league goals.
If one were to make assumptions, it feels highly unlikely that Klopp would’ve replaced any of his vital front three with a new signing this summer, so any arrival would’ve found it extremely hard to dislodge one of Salah, Firmino or Mane from the starting XI.
Liverpool made the right decision to leave the Ivorian alone.