Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp facing Liverpool selection headache as expert details severity of Diogo Jota injury

Liverpool star Diogo Jota

Jurgen Klopp could be without Diogo Jota for Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Fulham on August 6, according to injury expert Ben Dinnery.

Jota hit 21 goals in 55 matches for the Reds last season, helping them to FA Cup and Carabao Cup glory. The Portuguese forward is likely to play a big role next season as Liverpool aim to get back to the summit of the Premier League table.

However, Liverpool may have to rely on other attackers – such as Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz – at the start of the new campaign.

Jota missed the recent pre-season friendly against Crystal Palace after picking up an injury. On the issue, Klopp said: “Diogo is a concern. With Diogo it’s a muscle again.”

The manager didn’t reveal when Jota will return to action. But Dinnery has now given his verdict on when Liverpool can rely on the goalscorer once again.

During an interview with Football Insider, the medical expert said: “This is a real concern. He picked up the injury playing for Portugal and he has picked up a recurrence in training.

“This calls into question massively his availability heading into game week one. At this moment in time, the chances are that he won’t be involved.

“You can’t afford too many slip-ups in this Premier League, especially given the fact that you’d expect City to start like a steam train.

Diogo Jota absence could harm Liverpool

“Liverpool, if they want to compete, are going to need to hit the ground running as well. Jota would normally be heavily involved in that.

“But unless we see him on the training pitch soon, it’s difficult to see him being involved in the early weeks of the season.”

It seems Nunez could start at centre-forward against Fulham, unless Jota completes a miraculous recovery. Roberto Firmino is also in the squad, although he is lower down the pecking order.

Liverpool fans will be excited by the prospect of Nunez beginning the season as first-choice striker. He will be hoping to start the campaign well and keep the place from the likes of Jota and Firmino.

However, Klopp needs pretty much all of his squad to be available if Liverpool are to challenge City once again.

Following the 2-0 victory over Palace on Friday, Klopp also spoke about the hamstring problem affecting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“Of course it’s very disappointing for us because Oxlade trained all the time really well since the pre-season started,” Klopp said.

“It happened obviously with Ox in the past when it gets more intense and something can happen. Now this is just a muscle thing and that’s OK. We had worse situations, so I’m OK with it.

“I don’t know exactly how long it will take but he will be back and then it’s all fine. He is obviously a top-class player and he can help us.”

Meanwhile, a Liverpool youngster has left Anfield to join Blackpool on loan for next season.