Diogo Jota had just six touches after coming on against Chelsea. It’s a figure that will infuriate Jurgen Klopp.
Jurgen Klopp made a big call when he brought on Diogo Jota. He subbed off Mohamed Salah, for one thing – the Premier League’s top goalscorer.
But it was also Klopp taking his shot. After Jota, there wasn’t anyone left on the bench who he could reasonably expect to influence the attack.
Jota was the big sub and off came Salah on 62 minutes. Klopp must be infuriated, then, with how badly it went.
It’s not that Liverpool didn’t subsequently score. It’s not even really that Liverpool didn’t create a single chance with Jota on the pitch.
The real problem is that he just didn’t do much. Klopp virtually cut the team down to 10.
That’s because Jota had just six touches in 29 minutes against Chelsea, per FBref. Six. In half an hour.
For comparison, Salah had 47. That was as many as Roberto Firmino and eight more than Sadio Mane, despite playing half an hour less.
For further comparison, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on at exactly the same time, ended up with 20. He was far more involved.
So what exactly was the problem?
We’re certainly not blaming Jota entirely here. He will have wanted to be far more involved than he was.
The most blame we can level at him is that he could clearly have done more to get involved. Simple as that.
But deciding he’s entirely to blame would be missing the bigger point. Liverpool should have done more to find him.
And we’re not suggesting they avoided passing to him, either. It’s just that Liverpool were utterly inept at making things happen in the attacking third. They didn’t create and rarely found one another.
In a lot of ways, Salah’s stats are far more damning by how good they were. He went off with half an hour to go and still had the joint-most touches.
In fact, his touches in the attacking third were the most by a Liverpool player. How does that even happen?
His stats go further, though. Take progressive carries, for instance. That’s any time a player carries the ball at least five yards closer to the opposition goal.
Salah did that six times. Mane and Firmino combined for five – again, that’s with an extra half hour.
So Jota was just a continuation of this. Salah is the only Liverpool forward who manages to consistently get involved in the game.
The fact that Klopp went for his Jota sub early and got nothing from it is infuriating. In a lot of ways, he shouldn’t have bothered. Liverpool just can’t get it going in forward positions.
Everyone except Salah, of course.