Who starts in Liverpool's front three for Premier League opener against Chelsea?

Another member of Liverpool’s famous front three has departed Anfield and now only Mohamed Salah remains.

Liverpool’s forward line was once the most feared in Europe, with Salah backed up by Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, but new faces now fill the Reds changing room.

Mane was the first to leave in the summer of 2022 and now Firmino has followed, leaving Salah to guide the team into a new era on Merseyside.

Despite last season being one to forget, Salah still notched 19 times in the Premier League – meaning he is still irreplaceable for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Barring an injury, the 31-year-old is a certainty to start at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, 13 August on the right of the front three, but who will join him?

Centre-forward

First of all, one man who simply cannot be left out of that starting line-up in West London is Cody Gakpo. With Firmino no longer in red, the Dutchman adds that level of intricacy and intelligence that the Brazilian brought to the side.

Gakpo offers something different than other Liverpool attackers. He has a huge 6ft 4in frame, but is lightning fast. His marauding runs through the middle make him almost impossible to stop.

After being signed from PSV Eindhoven in January, Gakpo was written off by numerous people after a few lacklustre displays. Easy to forget he was coming into a side in terrible form while adjusting to life in a new country. But after scoring his first Reds goal in the Merseyside derby win over Everton, Gakpo sparked into life and has never looked back. His double against Manchester United in the 7-0 drubbing sticks out in the memory.

Gakpo went on to score seven goals in his 21 league games for the Reds and showed exactly why Pep Lijnders pushed hard to sign his countryman. Liverpool must be wondering how they managed to secure a £37m deal, especially in this current market.

That’s the right and the centre of the pitch sorted, but who starts on the left of the three? 

Left wing

© Proshots - Luis Diaz

Luis Diaz is now fit and raring to show Liverpool fans his full talent after missing much of last term with a serious knee injury.

Diaz currently has eight goals in 30 Premier League appearances for the Reds – something he will be looking to drastically improve on next season in his new number seven shirt.

Liverpool fans are huge fans of Diaz, but they are used to watching one of the best of his generation in that position in Mane, and will be expecting big things from the Colombian in what will be his first full uninterrupted season.

Mane regularly struck double figures in the Premier League and provided a number of assists – something Diaz is yet to add to his game. However, it’s hard to imagine the number seven not in the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge.

Other options

© Proshots - Darwin Nuñez

Darwin Nuñez is now a season deep at Anfield and hit a respectable 15 goals in all competitions last term, but so much more is expected of the striker due to his large price tag.

It was a season of difficulty for the Uruguayan, who showed the huge potential he possesses, but also showcased the complete rawness of his game at times. If Klopp gets it right, Nuñez could become one of the most dangerous strikers in Europe.

However, there are parts to his game currently that Liverpool may not be able to include in their starting XI for the first game of the campaign. Missed chances in a game like Chelsea away can be fatal. Klopp may not trust Nuñez with a starting birth just yet.

Nuñez entering the action with an hour on the clock is the last thing opposition defenders will want to see. Pace kills and the new Reds number nine has it in abundance. Nuñez's time will come at Anfield, but he may have to wait.

READ MORE: Now is the time to judge harshly-treated Darwin Nuñez

Last but certainly not least is Diogo Jota. A fantastic footballer who maybe gets overlooked by some Liverpool fans. The Portugal forward missed a large chunk of last season with a serious calf injury, but he is now fit and ready. A massive bonus for Klopp.

Jota can play anywhere along the front three, but his best position is through the middle where he can pop up in the box and score those scruffy-looking goals.

Liverpool’s number 22 ended this campaign with seven goals after hitting 15 in 35 games the previous season — and begun previous with a match-winning brace against Karlsruher SC. You still feel there’s still so much more to come from man Jamie Carragher dubbed 'Jota the slotter'. Fitness permitting, this may be the season his game goes to another level.

Klopp may not include the Portugal star in his starting XI at Chelsea, but, like Nuñez, an opportunity won’t be far away and he is more than capable of taking it.

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