Jurgen Klopp has been urged to replace Diogo Jota in the Liverpool starting XI this weekend.
Jota has surprisingly been handed a start in each of the Reds’ two Premier League games so far this season. The 26-year-old got off the mark for the campaign on Saturday, pouncing on a parried Dominik Szoboszlai shot to put Liverpool 3-1 up.
But according to pundit Stephan Warnock, that shouldn’t be enough to see him keep his spot in the team. Speaking on Sky Sports News via The Express yesterday, the former Reds defender said Jota was arguably the ‘weak link’ in Klopp’s forward line.
“I think there’s a real mixture between the three [forward players],” began the pundit. “Individually I think [Luis] Diaz is the player who will try and get people off their seats and get them on their feet. He’s that player who can take people on individually.
“Salah will do it to a certain degree but Salah has moments in a game where he’s very quiet, but you’ve just got that feeling whenever he gets on the ball that something special could happen, or he could change it in an instant.”
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“Jota’s arguably the weak link in the three because of his link-up play, he’s quite sloppy at times with the ball and it breaks down a little bit. However, when it comes into the penalty box he’s a different animal, he comes to life, he’s on it like a flash, we saw with the goal [on Saturday].
“I think if Endo is to start and [Alexis] Mac Allister and [Dominik] Szoboszlai were to play higher up the pitch, I think that then moves Gakpo into that central striker position, Jota then drops to the bench.”
Klopp urged to drop Jota
Plenty won’t agree with Warnock here. Jota has proven time and again that he deserves a place in the Liverpool starting XI.
But plenty of others will see where the 41-year-old is coming from.
Although he did score on Saturday – and also created Luis Diaz’s opener – you were left with the feeling of wanting more from Diogo.
His touch at times is infuriatingly poor and he has a tendency to start games by giving the ball away every time he gets it.
But Klopp clearly trusts him. And since his £45m move to Anfield in 2020, Jota has earned that trust. With 42 goals in 115 games for the club, the 26-year-old has been a reliable source when Liverpool have needed him. For the time being, it looks like he has the shirt.
If Alexis Mac Allister’s red card is upheld, then we can’t see that changing anytime soon. With other options sparce, it’s likely that Gakpo will continue in midfield. Darwin may have reason to complain, but as long as Jota is scoring, it’s hard to see Jurgen taking him out.