Diogo Jota. Wow, talk about making your mark. In practically no time, questions are already being raised as to whether the Portugal international has a serious cause to disrupt the dynamic between Liverpool’s pedigreed front-three.
In just 30 minutes of action in Amsterdam, Jota made a lasting impression. His impact from the bench was astounding and he made Liverpool much more unpredictable going forward.
Jota had two shots, made one key pass and completed three dribbles in that period – more than any other Liverpool player. One of his best examples of play came after he spotted the run of Georginio Wijnaldum and fed the Dutchman through on goal with a beautifully weighted pass that was crying out to be converted into the back of the net.
He had chances himself to score and the fact he consistently made himself an outlet in attack raises a tough reality Jurgen Klopp may have to face very shortly.
Roberto Firmino by comparison managed to touch the ball just 32 times and failed to register any key passes for his team nor did he complete one solitary dribble – according to WhoScored.
This is pretty worrying for Liverpool, especially when you consider the fact the Brazilian is yet to score for Liverpool so far this season. At this present moment, he looks a player completely depleted of all confidence.
Will Klopp make a difficult decision?
Jota is the first Liverpool player to disrupt the apple cart at the club from an attacking sense since the world’s most feared forward triumvirate came to formation back in 2017 following the signing of Mohamed Salah.
It’s increasingly rare in the modern game to keep two front-men so prolific for such a sustained period of time, let alone three.
Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane have all been integral to Liverpool’s recent success and all three are rightly lauded as among the best players in world football.
Each member of Klopp’s meticulously formed attacking trident is one of a kind, and it’s understandable that such raw talent is so difficult to replicate.
This has meant Liverpool have had to be patient in their transfer approach when it comes to attack-minded players and have resisted the urge to add further depth to the front-line for the best part of three years.
The £41 million addition of Jota at Wolves was initially seen as a way of helping aid the attacking responsibilities of Liverpool’s front three. No one anticipated that the 23-year-old would threaten to force his way into the starting XI this early.
Jota is yet to start in either the Premier League or the Champions League for his new club and if he keeps making such a significant impact from the bench and Firmino subsequently continues to struggle, it will only be a matter of time before Klopp takes matters into his own hands.
Indeed, it is impossible to replace a player with such unique qualities as Firmino, but this shouldn’t make him immune from being dropped if his performances levels aren’t quite cutting it at this present moment.
The point of signing a player a talented as Jota is that it immediately reduces any risk of complacency from within the front-three.
Salah, Mane and Firmino have rightly written themselves into Anfield folklore following such sustained brilliance in recent years, yet a team as relentless and ambitious as Liverpool cannot rely on sentiment if they are to retain their league title and improve in Europe.
Jota’s immediate impact means the clock is ticking for Firmino to up his game much sooner than expected, and if the 29-year-old striker doesn’t respond quickly, it could see his place in the team come under serious threat.
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