Peter Crouch admits he would be worried if he was in Roberto Firmino’s position at Liverpool.
Diogo Jota scored his first Liverpool hat-trick during the 5-0 victory against Atalanta after the Brazilian was dropped down to the bench for the first time this season in either the Premier League or Champions League.
Jota, 23, has clocked up seven goals for Liverpool following his £41 million move from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer – six of those have occurred in Liverpool’s previous five matches.
The Portugal international completed his treble in the second-half after bagging a magnificent brace in the opening 45 minutes. He was eventually replaced by Firmino just after the hour-mark.
Firmino has scored just one goal in all competitions for Liverpool this term and Crouch believes that Jota’s recent unstoppable form will have him fearing for his place in the starting line-up.
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“Salah started through the middle and then drifted out wide and it’s like they know that someone then needs to take that central position,” Crouch told BT Sport.
“Jota did it fantastically and he’s doing it on a number of occasions. He just looks so sharp. We never thought you could break up the front three with Firmino as well but if I’m him, I’m slightly worried.”
The man of the hour
Jota scored his first by beating the offside trap following a Trent-Alexander-Arnold through ball before nonchalantly dicking the ball over the Atalanta goalkeeper to open the scoring inside 20 minutes.
His second goal of the night was a contender for Liverpool’s goal of the season after the Portugal international received a pin-point pass from Joe Gomez, killing the ball dead with his first touch before rocketing home. His third goal of the night came from a Sadio Mane assist nine minutes into the second half.
This was the first hat-trick of Jota’s Liverpool career and all-three goals were made to look much easier than they actually were, such was the quality of his finishing.
Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen knows a thing or two in regards to European hat-tricks, and the BT Sports pundit believes the club’s latest attacking addition is certainly a special one.
He said: “We said before the match and asked if he’d done enough to dislodge that phenomenal front three.
“Firmino has done it over a long period of time, however, his goals have dried up a little bit, the assists have dried up a bit.
“Jota can assist as well as score goals, could’ve had a hat-trick already. He’s pretty special.”
Jota can do no wrong at the moment on pitch and this was the sign of a player high in confidence. He surely has to start against Manchester City at the weekend.
He is now up to seven goals for the season in all competitions already, and he will fancy his chances of competing with Mohamed Salah and Mane for the honour of the club’s top-scorer.
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