ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Should Diogo Jota be a regular starter for Liverpool?

Bertrand Traore

A recent injury to Roberto Firmino meant that Liverpool will have to rely more on Diogo Jota upfront. So far, the Portuguese looks to be up for the job.

Diogo Jota made his move to Liverpool last season from Wolverhampton Wanderers. While there were doubts raised about the transfer at that time, the 24-year-old soon proved why the Reds made the move.

However, there was always the problem of minutes for Diogo Jota in Liverpool. The 6 times European Champions have a world-class front three of Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. Replacing any of them in the starting eleven is a hard task, but should Jurgen Klopp be considering it?

DIOGO JOTA, GREAT PIECE OF BUSINESS

Diogo Jota is a versatile attacker who can slot in at multiple positions. Though he is predominantly a left-winger, the Portuguese can also play as a centre-forward and as a second striker.

This was a reason why Liverpool bought Jota from Wolves. His ability to play across the front made him an excellent rotation option with their famous front three. He was mostly used as a replacement for Mane or Firmino in the beginning and manager Klopp even tried using all four of them in his squad.

In his first season with Liverpool Jota made 19 appearances for them, while 7 of them came as a substitute. Injuries prevented him from getting more minutes but showed that he was rotated more compared to the others.

REPLACING THE FANTASTIC FRONT THREE

For any new attacker that signs for Liverpool replacing the front three would always be a monumental task. Salah is simply one of the best players in the world, while Mane brings in the pace and dynamism to the Reds. Firmino, however, is the glue that helps Liverpool stick together.

The Brazilian, though playing as a number nine, is not your typical centre-forward. He plays the most important role in Jurgen Klopp’s team to help his attack work the best.

Firmino drops in deep and creates the space for the wingers to come inside. He links up to play with them and his movement and passing are vital for Liverpool. But more importantly, the 30-year-old is the pressing machine for the team. He embodies the high pressing style that Klopp wants and becomes the first line of defence for Liverpool.

This is also a reason why Firmino has much fewer goals compared to Mane and Salah. The Brazilian has only scored 93 times for Liverpool across 303 appearances. Comparing this to someone like Salah, who already have 142 goals in his name for his 221 appearances for the Reds.

KLOPP TO ROTATE EVERYONE

While it is true that Firmino is very important for how Liverpool plays, there are other factors at play. Firmino is 30 and cannot be the long term player for Liverpool. There will be drops in his numbers and he is not your typical number 9 who can score many goals as well.

Mane and Salah are both 29 years old, and it is vital that Liverpool brings in youth into the attack. Considering all this Diogo Jota is an important part for the Reds going forward. The Portuguese is only 24 and has already absorbed the philosophy of the team.

In his 46 appearances for Liverpool, he has scored 21 times for them. Jota is fast and technically able to fit into multiple positions. For someone not quite big, he is good aerially as well. He is also a better finisher than Firmino and offers a different dimension to the Liverpool attack.

Jurgen Klopp has been thoughtful about who starts and rests in his team. With all the issues of fixture congestion, injuries, age and freshness of his players in mind, the German will surely keep rotating his options. While Jota truly deserves to start all the games, it is still important to rotate the players.

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