Former Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky says Diogo Jota’s fast start at Anfield means he could be ready to step in and replace Roberto Firmino in the Reds attack.
Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have been a potent attacking trident over the last few seasons.
But while Salah and Mane continue to fire in the goals, Firmino’s numbers have dwindled.
Last season, it took him until the final home game of the campaign to score a Premier League goal at Anfield. And this season the Brazilian has netted just once in nine matches. Salah already has seven while Mane has four.
But while those two are untouchable, Firmino’s position is starting to be questioned. While his work-rate and link-up play are a key component for the Reds going forward, the dwindling goal output is a concern.
His lack of confidence in front of goal appeared to be highlighted when he missed a late sitter in the 2-0 win over Midtjylland on Tuesday night.
Jota was signed in the summer for around £40m to provide competition. And he’s certainly delivered, scoring three goals already.
In the Premier League, the Portuguese ace opened his account on debut against Arsenal. He then scored the winner against Sheffield United. In the Champions League, Jota broke the deadlock against Midtjylland. They have been different goals too. A volley from distance, a towering header and a close-range tap-in.
Ex-Liverpool left-back Konchesky feels that may be good enough to get him a starting spot already.
He told CaughtOffside: “He (Jota) has settled in really well since he’s been there. We know he has got the quality, as he showed it in a very good Wolves side. It’s a great option to have at a club like Liverpool.”
As for Firmino, Konchesky noted: “He brings more than just goals, but it is a massive worry that he’s not scoring many. It might be why Jota has come in and maybe he’ll play a bit more than Firmino now.”
Fabinho injury opens door for youngster
While who to play in Liverpool’s attack is almost a nice problem to solve, the opposite is true in defence.
The Reds are woefully short on options after Fabinho limped off on Tuesday night. Liverpool are hopeful the Brazilian will be back after the next international break. But Virgil van Dijk faces a long spell on the sidelines. And Joel Matip has struggled to put a run of games together.
Youngster Rhys Williams came on for the final 60 minutes against Midtjylland and produced a composed performance. And Konchesky believes the 19-year-old has the chance to stake his claim.
He said: “I think they were lucky enough not to pick up many injuries last year on their fantastic run, but seem to be getting them all now!”
“It could be the intense style they play at, or it might be the lack of rest that the club have had through these crazy times.
“I think for now Rhys Williams will be a option. Signing a player in January might depend on how well the young boy does between now and then.”