Liverpool transfer talk in the summer was dominated by conversations around whether the Reds needed to bring in a new centre-forward.
In terms of an attacking force, few sides across the league can rival Jurgen Klopp’s men. The squad is already blessed with some of the best forwards in Europe, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino all with abilities that would see them walk into the starting elevens of most teams on the continent.
However despite this, there’s still a void within the attacking line in the shape of a traditional centre-forward profile. And the same has been a cause of concern for many Reds.
The same even boiled over into the criticism at the end of the transfer window when it was confirmed that no such player was going to be brought to Anfield, for now at least.
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Talk has subsided across the opening few weeks of the season given Liverpool’s impressive unbeaten start to the campaign and their impressive attacking displays.
Yet it’s likely that grumbles will again pick up momentum should they suffer a downturn in form.
Given how strong this Liverpool side is, it’s tough to identify attainable forward players who’d not break the bank but would also have the capacity to positively improve the Reds goal return across the course of the campaign.
Yet one name being suggested in the wake of Liverpool exhilarating 3-3 draw with Brentford on Saturday is Ivan Toney.
The Bees frontman has registered four goal contributions (two goals, two assists) across his last four Premier League appearances, which includes being awarded the assist for his flick in Brentford’s well-worked opener against Liverpool on the weekend.
Despite an unremarkable early senior career in which he was loaned out to five different clubs by Newcastle United across a three-year spell, Toney has gone onto forge a formidable reputation across the past three seasons.
He joined Peterborough United in 2018 and netted an impressive 40 goals in just 76 appearances which led to Brentford making a swoop last summer.
His impact in London was record-breaking, netting 32 goals across the campaign, a feat never achieved before by any player in England’s second-tier.
And despite the step up in quality this year, he’s transitioned to the Premier League well, and that, plus his post-match comments following Saturday’s goal-fest may have pricked the ears of Liverpool officials.
On Instagram, the 25-year-old stated: “Eventful evening to say the least yesterday, coming up against the team I’ve supported as a young boy was a dream come true”.
Although from Northampton initially, Toney grew up a Liverpool fan and has talked about his admiration for the Reds on more than one occasion. He’d undoubtedly jump at an opportunity to one day play for them, but is he what Klopp needs?
In terms of a playing position, he’s certainly the out and out No.9 the team don’t currently have, and his goal record speaks for itself.
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Yet to succeed as an attacker in this Liverpool side, you need other equally important traits. You need to be strong, hardworking and have the capacity to press cohesively and aggressively without the ball.
Notably at Brentford, he benefits from playing in an aggressive pressing side similar to Liverpool’s who look to actively win the ball back high up the pitch when possession is turned over.
Their passes allowed per defensive action (PPDA) average - a metric used to measure pressing - of 9.61 is not too dissimilar to Liverpool’s league-best average of 8.23 so far this season.
And strikingly, Toney’s 39 pressures made in the attacking third so far is just one fewer than Salah’s of 40 - the highest number of any player across the Liverpool squad.
It’s still early days in the campaign, but the initial signs are promising, and should he continue to score regularly whilst maintaining a high output in other areas of the game, such as the above pressing, then a case to be made that he's worthy of a Liverpool move would only strengthen.
If they could acquire his signature for a reasonable price, then he could prove to be a good investment for Klopp’s men, bring a different attacking profile than what the current squad already has.