Diogo Jota is Klopp's big selection decision v Lincoln
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Diogo Jota is Klopp's big selection decision v Lincoln

Liverpool head to Lincoln City on Thursday evening for a Carabao Cup clash.

With many players needing game time, some selection decisions pick themselves.

For instance, Adrian will get his chance in goal, while Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas will deputies at full-back.

Billy Koumetio will likely get his chance at centre-back having impressed in pre-season. Fabinho could partner the 17-year-old talent although Joe Gomez may be fit in time for the midweek bout.

The biggest question for Klopp is whether or not new signing Diogo Jota will be handed an early baptism of fire and make his full Liverpool debut.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: New signing Diogo Jota of Liverpool at Anfield on September 19, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The case for Jota

While tempting to throw in a youngster, Liverpool cannot afford a defeat away at Lincoln and the scenario of bowing out of a cup competition early in the season.

With that in mind, Klopp will want to utilise the depth of his squad as best he can on Thursday and with that said, Jota should start.

The £45 million [BBC] signing from Wolves was brought in to ensure there isn’t a significant drop in quality in the absence of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and this can be implemented against Lincoln.

Also, Jota has yet to play this season having been overlooked in both of Wolves’ opening two matches this season which means the forward will need to be brought up to speed and fast.

Lincoln are a team in good form with five competitive wins out of five this season. Liverpool will have to be sharp and Jota himself needs game time.

It is unlikely that the Portugal international is a first-choice pick in Klopp’s PL starting XI meaning it is fixtures like this where Jota will be able to showcase his quality.

An away tie against confident lower league opposition hoping to spring an upset is the sort of game where an otherwise rotated team would benefit from having a player of the quality of Jota who has the ability to turn a match on its head at any given moment.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 16: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on September 16, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The case for Shaqiri

The simple basic point reinforcing the case to pick Shaqiri is that it is a tried and tested option for Klopp.

When called upon, Shaqiri has delivered in the few matches he was selected in last season and considering he is yet to feature since last season, Shaqiri is also in desperate need of gametime.

The argument against Shaqiri, however, is that his Liverpool future at this moment is still very-much up in the air which raises the concern of playing someone who could be set to leave the club in the next few weeks.

Premier League and Champions League games provide little opportunity for rotation. This is what the Carabao Cup is for.

Both Jota and Shaqiri’s roles at the club are effectively to aid the attacking responsibilities in the absence of the club’s pedigreed front-three which has been an area of concern for Liverpool in recent months.

The addition of Jota is a welcomed one as a player of his quality will ensure there isn’t a noticeable drop-off if the Portuguese forward is required to deputies.

This is Liverpool’s opportunity to put Jota in and let him stake a real claim early on.

Jota is extremley dangerous with the ball and has shone at every level he has played at for Wolves. He deserves a chance to get his Liverpool career of the mark come Thursday.

Other options

It is very possible that Klopp could start with a 4-3-3 and use both Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi on the wing with Takumi Minamino as the central attacking focal point of the team.

Another option is for Klopp to push on Curtis Jones further forward in a similar role to that when he produced a stunning winning goal against Everton in the FA Cup third-round earlier this year.

Either way, we are hopeful to see Jota handed his debut against Lincoln, it’s what supporters will want to see, but getting through to the next round has to be the top priority.


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