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Liverpool could sign Roberto Firmino as a left field substitute rated by Roy Keane | football | sports

Liverpool’s work will stop them from trying to replace Roberto Firmino, but there is one option on the left in the Premier League that could be a risk worth taking. Nottingham Forest star Brennan Johnson has already scored seven Premier League goals this season on his league debut, and indications are that he will only get better after his impressive rise to the top at City’s home ground.

Johnson enjoyed championship success last season – scoring 18 goals and 10 assists in steering Forest through the play-offs – but his maturity since then has also made a lasting impression.

The Welshman has been a shining spark for Steve Cooper’s team and his hard work is now being translated into goals and assists as he continues to help Forest put points on the board.

Last weekend, Johnson scored twice for Forest in the 2-2 draw with Everton, meaning his goals were now worth a whopping seven points for Treki Trees, who would have been bottom of the group without him.

But it is not only his numbers that make Johnson a suitable candidate to replace Firmino, it is also his positions on the field and his intelligent use of the ball.

Johnson is one of the few players in the Premier League who can act as a second striker, a role somewhat similar to that of a false nine. In addition, he can also play wide as his direct running style allows him to cut through spaces and wreak havoc in the final third.

The Wales international has built his game around intelligence, movement, accurate control, touch and the ability to score and assist goals. But he also continues to build on his qualities and improve his performances, which means the future is undoubtedly bright given he’s still only 21 years old.

Johnson caught the eye last season when Liverpool beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the FA Cup thanks to Diogo Jota’s goal. Roy Keane and Robbie Fowler were both hugely impressed.

“He looks like a footballer, he looks normal with the ball at his feet. He doesn’t look like he’s fighting with the ball and it will be great to see how that plays out in the next couple of years and if he can kick,” Kane said.

“It impressed me,” Fowler said. “He’s still young and there are few Premier League clubs after him. He’s stayed at the club on loan.” [to Lincoln] And what I like about him is, as far as he’s fast paced, he has candor about him and he’s comfortable on the ball and shows composure.

“He entered the penalty area and distributed a lot of goals, not only scoring them but also helping them and he ticks a lot of boxes.”

Tottenham are among those who have followed Johnson closely and it is clear that Nottingham Forest will demand a premium in order to agree to the sale.

Fabio Paratici traveled to the City stadium last season to watch striker Wajd Spence during Leicester’s FA Cup defeat.

Johnson scored that day and was largely excellent as he pulled a leaky Leicester backline as the hosts were eliminated from contention in a shock upset in the East Midlands.

It was a sign of things to come. Although Johnson has been largely unsteady – which is to be expected given his age – he was one of the highlights of Forest’s return to the First Division and proves the difference in the relegation battle.

Which is why it should come as no surprise if the Premier League’s biggest clubs call up in the summer as he is likely up for grabs at the right price.

With Firmino closed in the summer, there is a small chance for Liverpool to improve their forward options, signing the likes of Johnson low risk, high reward. He would be a similar signing to the likes of Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane, who exploded upon his arrival at Anfield.

Johnson is young, dangerous, versatile and has high potential. It’s the kind of project Jurgen Klopp would enjoy at Anfield. He might be worth a penalty if Liverpool had money to spend on their attack with central defense and a central midfielder, which understandably has more priority.


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