If you asked Liverpool fans which forwards in world football are better than their club’s established front three, it would likely be a fairly small list.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are in the Reds’ all-time top 20 goalscorers, with the latter only 12 shy of taking a place in the top 10.
As a trio, they are just four off the 300-goal mark, which is a remarkable return.
Yet while Kopites wouldn’t be able to list too many strikers they’d prefer, there would surely be unanimous agreement on one name – Kylian Mbappe.
Supporters had plenty of fun with the #Mbappe2020 hashtag on social media a couple of years ago, and their interest won’t have waned since either.
But both they and Liverpool obviously have to be realistic.
If the Reds fail to qualify for the Champions League then it’s impossible to see the 22-year-old World Cup-winner joining, even before considering the colossal finances required to make a deal happen.
Michael Edwards and his team of experts are renowned for unearthing high-performing players though, and they may be able to obtain a more realistic target than Mbappe should Jurgen Klopp be looking to expand his attacking options this summer.
Having looked across a range of statistics, here are a quartet of players who might fit the bill for Liverpool.
If we discount the likes of Lionel Messi, Raheem Sterling and Timo Werner as transfer targets for the Reds, then according to Statsbomb’s data on FBRef, Diaby is the player who is statistically most similar to Mbappe.
This may seem odd in light of the 21-year-old’s career tally of just 10 league goals. But with the eighth most shots on target in Germany so far this season, there could be more to come as the young man develops further.
He has been more proficient as a creator in any case, having assisted 19 goals, including two for Mbappe when they were together at Paris Saint-Germain in 2018/19.
Diaby is also an excellent dribbler, as evidenced by the fact he is second only to Jadon Sancho in the Bundesliga for carrying the ball either into the final third or the penalty box this season.
The wide forward could get the Main and Sir Kenny Dalglish stands at Anfield on their feet when fans return, given the chance.
Another player who might leave supporters scratching their heads at the comparison is Lazio’s Joaquin Correa, who has yet to score more than nine league goals in a single season.
But the Argentine – who netted at Anfield for Sevilla in 2017 – is generally more of a creative player, like Diaby.
Among forwards in Europe’s big five leagues, Correa is in the 96th percentile for shot creating actions across the last 365 days (per FBRef).
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He’s also in the top six per cent for carrying the ball towards the opposition goal and receiving passes in dangerous areas in the same period too.
Liverpool were reportedly interested in the player 12 months ago, and whether that story was true or not, it’s at least clear why they might have been keen.