Even with Nathaniel Clyne set to take Liverpool’s transfer tally to six this summer, the work at Anfield clearly isn’t done. Goalkeeping problems, the right-back issue, Steven Gerrard’s departure and greater levels of creativity have been addressed with Clyne, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez, James Milner, Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino, but the issue surrounding goals hasn’t truly been addressed.
So it comes as little surprise then to see that Liverpool are prioritising the addition of a striker between now and the close of the transfer window – which hasn’t technically opened yet – and despite links with Salomon Rondon and Christian Benteke, there may be a left-field candidate worth considering… Kevin Volland. There are no strong links between the German and Merseyside as of yet, but given than he was Firmino’s ‘partner in crime’ at Hoffenheim, there is at least a moderate to strong argument for taking a look at the 22-year-old, who signed a new contract earlier this year – although this act seems to mean little in modern football.
‘But why?’ you may ask… well, here are FIVE reasons.
With a combined league goal output of 42 since the start of the 2013/14, Firmino and Volland made up a staggering 34.8% of Hoffenheim’s efforts. That’s just two players. Of the two, Volland netted the fewer (19), but he did out-score his Brazilian partner in crime last term (eight to seven), and his movement seems to be the sort that Firmino thrived off – 21 assists, albeit not all with the German, is a fine return from two campaigns.
The above video shows that the pair have a real penchant for link-up play, which is sure to be something Rodgers will be looking for from his attacking players. While Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were more in the mould of two greats put together, Firmino and Volland look to be greater than the sum of their parts when deployed in tandem.
It’s silly to suggest that everyone of the same nationality gets on (we’re sure you can think of someone in the same postcode you don’t particularly like), but having two young Germans together could be of use for Liverpool. Volland and Emre Can have been away together with their nation’s U-21 side, and before a 5-0 hammering from European Championship favourites Portugal, it was all going swimmingly.
The pair even linked up to create the above goal, dispatched by Volland, and with Can likely to line up in midfield for the Reds next season, a natural understanding could be the bedrock of an impressive side.
As mentioned before, Volland has notched 19 goals over the course of the last two seasons, which is quite impressive considering he’s just 22 and has been playing for a midtable side – Hoffenheim finished 2013/14 and 20154/15 in ninth and eighth respectively. Although he’s yet to register a goal for the senior German side, at U-21 level Volland is a one in two forward (11 in 22 caps), with his last goal coming against Denmark in a 3-0 win.
With Liverpool’s goal return the lowest in the Premier League’s top seven last term, it’s clear that a dangerous marksman is needed.
Rodgers loves and attacking player who is able to drift, making Volland ideal for the Northern Irishman. The three-cap Germany international is most dangerous when used as an orthodox striker, but he is able to function on either flank or as the ‘No.10’, with his pace, intelligent movement and tactical wherewithal in transition key traits.
With Europa League football looming large, Rodgers will need options in every position, and a player like Volland would present him with versatility.
It may leave a bitter taste in the mouth for fans, but buying with a view to selling for a big profit in the future is a way of life for many clubs. Liverpool are firmly in this bracket, with the lack of a ‘sugar daddy owner’, regular Champions League football and a relatively small stadium (for now) forcing the Merseysiders to operate in a financially-savvy way.
The exits of Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez in particular show the power of profit, while Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge’s values have risen dramatically since their arrivals at Anfield. Volland, at 22, looks to have the potential to improve, and with Hoffenheim hardly giants of the game they may find it hard to resist offers.