Who is Liverpool’s long-term number 9?

6th May 2023

Liverpool have certainly been blessed with a myriad of talented forwards that will most likely spend the prime of their career at the club.

The likes of , , , , and make up Liverpool's forward line which stacks up to some of the best not only in the but in the entirety of Europe.

With 's dwindling influence in recent years and his expected departure this season, a long-term successor to both his position and number 9 shirt will surely be appointed this season.

In my opinion, there are two options for that responsibility and that falls to Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo.

Who will become Liverpool's long-term number 9?

Darwin Núñez

Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The Uruguayan striker has endured a respectable season at the club, having netted nine Premier League goals and 15 in all competitions.

While he's certainly had struggles this season, it's absolutely understandable and should have been expected.

Aside from his debut season with Liverpool, Núñez has only played two seasons of top-flight football, having played two seasons at Benfica prior to his move.

He played one season with Almeria in the second division of Spanish football as he lacked experience at the top level and is only now experiencing the elite level of football with Liverpool.

Despite the struggles, the 23-year-old has shown glimpses of his talent this season, showing he has tremendous movement in and around the box.

While he's still quite a raw talent, Liverpool manager did call him a “long-term project” as he and his coaching staff were prepared to spend a considerable amount of time moulding Núñez into becoming a true Liverpool striker.

It's easy to forget that he's already surpassed the number of goals and scored in their debut season at Liverpool in all competitions.

Cody Gakpo

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Dutch forward arrived at Liverpool in January and perhaps came to the club at the worst possible time.

Liverpool at that time had been experiencing their worst season ever under Klopp and bringing in a 23-year-old forward into the side was always going to be a difficult start for the Dutch .

After a few underwhelming appearances, Gakpo finally scored his first goal for the club against Everton in a 2-0 victory at Anfield which certainly bolstered his confidence.

Placed usually as a number nine, Gakpo has shown himself to be a credible replacement for Firmino thanks to his ability to hold up the ball, drop deep and spread the ball accordingly.

His mazy dribbling runs for someone of such a tall frame (6 ft 4) are certainly impressive and allow the likes of Salah and Díaz to make runs into the box as they attention from the opposition.

It's undoubtedly a great problem for Liverpool to have with two uber-talented forwards both aged 23, but who do you think will stake their claim as Liverpool's long-term number 9?

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