Liverpool 'preparing bid' for clinical 59-goal Premier League striker to replace 'frustrating' Darwin Nunez

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Liverpool are preparing for a minor rebuild this summer after Jurgen Klopp departed Anfield and was replaced by Arne Slot

Jurgen Klopp has officially said his goodbyes to Liverpool, with his replacement Arne Slot ready to get to work at Anfield as the Reds aim to improve on last season’s third-placed finish.

Klopp’s final season saw Liverpool reclaim a Champions League spot and lift the Carabao Cup despite a plethora of injuries to their more experienced stars. The season finished with somewhat of a whimper as FA Cup and Europa League exits came alongside the club dropping out of the title race.

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It was a major point of frustration for supporters, as the Reds created plenty of chances in the final weeks of the season but struggled to be clinical in front of goal and dropped points as a result, with a draw at Old Trafford and a home defeat to Crystal Palace all but ending their title hopes.

The club’s xG (expected goals) over the 38-game Premier League season was 93.32, but they scored just 80 times for a difference of -13.32. Only Everton had a worse return in front of goal compared to their xG, with the Toffees having an xG difference of -19.34. xG is used to denote how many goals a team should score based on the quality of chances created, so an opportunity from eight yards will have a much higher xG than a shot from 30 yards.

Striker Darwin Nunez managed 11 goals last term but missed a frustrating 27 big chances for Liverpool in the Premier League last campaign according to the competition’s official website. The Reds have now been linked with Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as they seek to solve their goal-scoring issues. The 28-year-old scored 19 goals last season, to take his Premier League total to 59 in four seasons with Villa. He netted 27 in all competitions for Villa last term and The Mirror reports a new striker is on Liverpool’s shortlist this summer with Watkins one who would ‘fit the bill’.

Watkins signed a new five-year deal until 2028 with Villa last season, with his previous deal running out in 2025. His goals helped fire Villa into the Champions League as they finished fourth behind Liverpool in the Premier League table. The former Brentford and Exeter City man recently came in for high praise from manager Unai Emery, who hailed his defensive work alongside his ability in front of goal.

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"He’s amazing," said Emery. "Because he’s a really hard worker and his commitment to work every day is amazing. When he is scoring goals, it's the main objective he can have. Where he is assisting as well, he's contributing to help the team. But even when he's not doing both, he's working for the team.

"Defensively, the commitment was always high. He is in the press to the opponent. His commitment and behaviour is always a very good example for others. His power is his mind. His mentality is the best quality he has."

Watkins joined Villa for £28m but is likely to command a much higher fee if Liverpool come calling given his importance to Emery ahead of next season as he prepares his side for Champions League football.

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