Liverpool legend John Barnes says Jurgen Klopp should return Roberto Firmino to the starting lineup ahead of Diogo Jorta for Sunday’s clash with Manchester City.
Klopp has welcomed the selection headache posed by Jota’s recent spellbinding form for the Reds. The Portuguese’s hat-trick against Atalanta took his tally to seven goals in 10 games.
More tellingly, however, Firmino’s once-unmoveable role in the front three now looks under threat.
As well as his hat-trick on Tuesday, Jota has scored back-to-back winners as a Premier League substitute in recent weeks.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Barnes insisted that the 23-year-old should return to the bench at the Etihad Stadium.
“Jota scored a hat-trick, but that doesn’t mean he automatically goes into the team against Man City,” the pundit said.
“I think who plays depends on what the games are and who they’re against and how that team plays. Against Man City, where you’re not going to have as much possession, maybe Firmino will be a better bet.
“You need a player like Bobby Firmino to not only get hold of the ball but also do his defensive work.
“If you’re playing a game against Atalanta or Leeds, a more open team, then you can see Jota coming in.”
Klopp using all his options
Barnes added that, amid Klopp‘s plethora of midfield options, he will likely field many combinations in different situations.
“It’s the same with Thiago (Alcantara). If you play Man City you won’t necessarily play Thiago, you play (Georginio) Wijnaldum, (Jordan) Henderson and Fabinho who are much stronger defensively.
“I think Klopp will chop and change this season, and I don’t think it’s a reflection on who he feels is better, it’s more about who they are playing against.”
Liverpool can move eight points clear of City with victory on Sunday, although Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand.