The signing of Diogo Jota at Liverpool has had a negative impact on two of Liverpool’s famed front three this season, according to one pundit.
Jota was brought in to bring cover and competition to Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in the summer. Spending £41m on his arrival, the deal was hailed as another transfer ‘masterstroke’ by sporting director Michael Edwards. The Portuguese star has responded well too; Jota has scored 12 times in 26 appearances for Liverpool.
But while he has been a success, the likes of Firmino and Mane have suffered serious losses of form. Mane did manage to break his 10-game Premier League drought in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Leeds. But he only has 13 goals in 42 appearances this season; way down on his usual numbers.
It’s even worse for Firmino. The Brazilian has just six goals and five assists in 45 games in the 2020/21 season. While his game has never been about the goals, this season he looks bereft of ideas and confidence.
Salah is perhaps the only one to maintain his usual levels. The Egyptian has 28 goals already this term and tops the Premier League goalscoring charts.
However, Frank McAvennie is adamant that the signing of Jota has upset the establishment at Liverpool.
“Salah is a magnificent player and having Firmino and Mane with him was just brilliant,” McAvennie told Football Insider.
“They’ve brought in Jota and while he’s been playing well, brilliant even, I think it’s upset the other three.
“I don’t know what’s happened there but they don’t look right now Jota’s in there with them.
“Two years ago and last season those players were magnificent but now Jota’s here, some of them just can’t score.
“It’s the only thing that’s changed really, other than the injuries but you can’t blame poor finishing and decision making on defensive injuries.”
Crouch defends form of Liverpool trio
Such has been their form this season, there has been some suggestions that Klopp could look to offload one of his famed front three.
That suggestion, however, has been mocked by Peter Crouch, who insists people have short memories.
The ex-Liverpool striker wrote: “I wouldn’t sell any of them. Why would you even think of doing that unless one of them wanted to go?
“I understand Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have not hit the heights we have expected of them this season but that doesn’t mean their time is up.
“It staggers me that we live in a world where cancel culture is growing by the day.
“A player is out of form for a season? Sell him. A manager underperforms? Sack him.”
Crouch added: “It’s a miserable way to go on and let’s just put what Mo Salah, Mane and Firmino have achieved in context.
“They are the front three who brought the title to Liverpool after 30 years and there is plenty of life in them still.
“I bet you if Mane or Firmino went somewhere else, they would be exhilarating.”