Pundit Noel Whelan has revealed that he believes Liverpool have already found a replacement for Roberto Firmino in Diogo Jota.
The Brazilian striker has endured somewhat of a difficult time at Anfield so far this season, failing to score for a 14th consecutive game in the Reds’ recent 1-1 draw with Newcastle, his worst return for Jurgen Klopp‘s side to date. As a result, Firmino has an overall xG of just 0.37 so far, in what has been a turbulent campaign for the defending Premier League champions.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan expressed his thoughts on Firmino’s struggles in front of goal, stating that manager Klopp should be worried about the 29-year-old’s performances so far this season.
He said: “Those stats will be worrying for Jurgen Klopp but he has other options and there is competition there.
“A player of Firmino’s ability, playing in a Liverpool side that is full of great players, should definitely be scoring more, 100 percent.”
The former Hoffenheim striker has returned just six goals in 31 Premier League appearances for the Merseyside outfit so far this season, his lowest tally since making the switch from the Bundesliga club in 2015.
Despite playing 15 games less than the Brazilian, Diogo Jota has scored two more league goals than Firmino since joining the side from Wolves last summer for £40 million.
Whelan believes that Klopp has already found a replacement striker in the Portuguese forward.
He added: “He can do that job now. He is more effective when it comes to goal involvements. He will get more goals and more assists than Firmino. Quite frankly, Jota is a better player now.”
Other attackers on Klopp’s radar
With the Reds now looking a shadow of the team that reached European and Premier League glory in successive seasons, certain key areas must be addressed by Klopp if they are to challenge for big trophies in the next campaign.
Aside from a defensive injury crisis, a significant factor hindering Liverpool’s success has been a lack of goals in crucial periods of the season, primarily stemming from significant dips in form from Sadio Mane and the aforementioned Firmino.
A number of reports have suggested the German manager could be lining up a move for a new attacker.
One player believed to be on Klopp’s radar is Torino striker, Andrea Belotti and despite reports of interest from Chelsea, Tuttosport have reported a move to Anfield appears a likelier destination for the Italian.
In addition, Dutch publication Voetbal International believes that the Merseyside outfit have entered the race for highly sought after PSV Eindhoven striker, Donyell Malen and are willing to offload a number of players to fund the move.