Football

Ex-Liverpool striker Heskey urges Klopp to boost attack

Heskey says Liverpool are too dependent on Mane and must bring in more attacking options

Liverpool have scored 60 goals in 28 matches in the English Premiership, making them the highest-scoring team ahead of league leaders Chelsea (57).

The foward line of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana has accounted for 34 goals, more than half of their tally.

That is despite manager Juergen Klopp not using a recognised No. 9 like striker Daniel Sturridge, preferring to use primarily Brazilian Firmino in the main striker's role.

Former Reds striker Emile Heskey is impressed with the Reds' free-flowing football.

The 39-year-old Englishman was in Singapore to promote the launch of the JSSL International 7s at The Arena at Woodleigh Park yesterday.

Featuring 260 teams from 14 countries, the youth football tournament will be held from April 29-May 1.

"Well, it (Liverpool's attack) looks like it's working," Heskey, who scored 39 goals in 150 appearances for the Reds from 2000 to 2004, told The New Paper in an interview yesterday.

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangPHOTOS: AFP

"Their attack is quite free flowing and they are adept at scoring goals, which is great and that's what you want with forwards.

"I like how they interchange... one minute Firmino is in the centre, and the next Mane is in the centre, and Coutinho usually goes wherever he wants to. They interchange (positions) and I quite like that."

However, Heskey feels that Klopp should bring in reinforcements in the summer to boost their attacking prowess.

And he identified Borussia Dortmund's Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as one player who can take the Reds' attack to another level.

"I think Klopp does need (to sign more attacking players) because when Mane went to the African Nations Cup (in January), they missed his goals and his threat going forward," said Heskey, who works as a TV pundit these days after hanging up his boots last year playing for Bolton Wanderers.

Asked who Klopp should sign, Heskey added: "Aubameyang is very quick, very direct and knows the back of the net."

Indeed, in Mane's absence, the Reds picked up two points in four Premier League games, and crashed out of the League Cup and the FA Cup.

Despite being the league's top-scorers, Liverpool's inconsistent defence has been a recurring theme throughout the season.

They have conceded 35 goals, the most out of the top-seven teams, and managed to keep only seven clean sheets.

"I don't think they are particularly bad players, but they are not defending too well as a unit," said Heskey, who also played for Leicester City, Birmingham City, Aston Villa and Wigan during his career.

"The key thing for defenders is that they must get their positioning right and be solid when the ball comes in.

"One thing that I hated when I was playing as a striker were defenders who were ready to get really aggressive with you."

Heskey likes Klopp's fiery passion, but is coy on whether the German is the man who could lead the Reds to a first league title since 1990.

He said: "I quite like Klopp, I think he breathes passion from the sidelines and you can see how infectious he is when the players play on the pitch.

"He wants to be out there with them and he has got this fire in his belly.

"Only time will tell (if he's the man to end Liverpool's title drought). Brendan Rodgers came so close, we thought he was the guy.

"But I hope Klopp can do it because he is a great guy and a great manager."

eplliverpoolPierre-Emerick Aubameyang