Premier League • England

Liverpool ace fires back at Prem legend over ’embarrassing’ mistake that divides opinion

Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott of Liverpool

Liverpool star Diogo Jota has responded to recent criticism

Liverpool attacker Diogo Jota has responded to a big-name pundit criticising him for an ’embarrassing’ dive during the Reds’ 4-2 victory over Newcastle United at Anfield on New Year’s Day.

When Liverpool were already 3-2 up, Alexis Mac Allister sent Jota through on goal with a fantastic pass with the outside of his right boot. Jota raced away from two Newcastle defenders before coming up against Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

The Portuguese attempted to take Dubravka on and got caught by a slight touch from the keeper when doing so. He kept going for a couple of steps before going to ground and shouting for a penalty, despite there being an opportunity for him to finish into an open net.

Jota’s decision ultimately won Liverpool a spot-kick, and Mo Salah stepped up to convert and ensure all three points remained on Merseyside.

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who is the all-time leading Prem scorer with 260 goals, was left angry with the 27-year-old. He thought Jota made a mistake in going down and not scoring himself, and reacted to the alleged dive by tweeting: “F***ing embarrassing.”

On The Rest Is Football podcast, the pundit added: “Yeah, he f***ing dived. Pretty simple. That is as clear a dive you will ever see.

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“There was a tiny bit of contact, but he could have just stayed on his feet and tapped it in.”

Jota has now been asked about Shearer’s remarks. He has responded by justifying his decision to go down, though he has also confirmed that he would have rather scored than Salah.

Diogo Jota ‘didn’t feel the conditions to stay up’

“Listen, of course I saw some comments from ex-players and people who are paid to talk about situations,” he said (via the Liverpool Echo). “The only thing I can say is even the keeper said it was a touch and I didn’t feel the conditions to stay up. So that’s it.

“Would I rather put the ball in the net than see Mo take a penalty? Yes, of course. That’s what I like to do – to score goals. That’s all I have to say.”

While Jota has not been in as good form as his team-mate Salah this term, he has still chipped in with some important goal contributions for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Indeed, his record stands at nine goals and three assists in 21 games, including five strikes in the league.

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