Jurgen Klopp’s misfortune hands lifeline for Liverpool star ahead of January window
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool continued their impressive run of form with a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in 25 games in all competitions after 18 wins and seven draws, their joint-longest run since they joined the Football League all the way back in 1893.
In doing so they also secured their place in the last-16 of Europe’s premier club competition against Diego Simeone’s 10-man Atletico.
Liverpool top Group B with 12 points after four games, while Porto are in second place with five following their draw with AC Milan at the San Siro.
Diogo Jota headed in from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross to open the scoring for the Reds inside 14 minutes, before the Liverpool right-back then played in Sadio Mane, who tapped home from close range eight minutes later.
Now, one of Liverpool’s goalscorers now has the opportunity to prove to Klopp that he can be the man to lead the line – and that is Portuguese forward Jota.
Although Jota was chosen to start the game ahead of Roberto Firmino, the Brazilian was introduced to proceedings almost immediately in the second-half.
However, Firmino was forced off less than 30 minutes after coming on as a result of a hamstring blow which is likely to keep him out for several weeks.
When asked after the game about the win, Klopp said: “If Bobby hadn’t gone off with a hamstring injury, that would have been much better.
“From pretty much all other points of view, it was a good performance. It’s been an incredible group stage so far and I wouldn’t have expected that when seeing the draw, nobody would have expected it, it’s pretty special.
“Job done. But there are two games to go and we will do everything to try and win them, that’s how it is.
“We tried to get through this game pretty mature, and still it didn’t work out. Bobby got injured and that’s not good.”
While Jota’s chance comes off the back of unfortunate circumstances, it’s something the forward will no doubt look to take advantage of as he seeks to prove he is the player to lead from the front for Liverpool.
Firmino has commanded the position for several seasons now, but Jota’s arrival has provided some welcome competition for the role.
The Brazilian currently has six goals this season, while Jota’s tally now stands at five following his latest goal.
Jota scored nine league goals in his first campaign at Liverpool, but he is well on his way to surpassing that already this season.
Jota will also have further chances to impress when Liverpool lose both Mane and Mohamed Salah to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
Both players will take part in the tournament in Cameroon – for Senegal and Egypt respectively – which could see them absent for a month in what is a crucial part of the season.
Liverpool will travel to east London to face West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday and Jota will be hoping to continue in the same vein and seize the moment.