Diogo Jota injury: Jurgen Klopp’s alternatives in Liverpool attack suffer another blow

Given the contrasting form they and their opponents Manchester City went into Sunday’s big game, Liverpool could hardly have hoped for a better performance on the pitch at the weekend.

The Reds emerged victorious in a 1-0 win, although the aftermath was filled with accusations and resentment, as well as talk of an action-packed game that ended with an upset after Mohamed Salah’s winner.

However, the only downside for the home team came right at the end of the game, and as it turns out, it’s a big one. Diogo Jota went down injured just before the final whistle and Jurgen Klopp has now confirmed a ‘serious’ calf injury will keep him out ‘for months’, including missing the 2022 World Cup with Portugal.

With the recent tactical shift to a 4-4-2, Jota seems the natural go-to for the left-back role after Luis Diaz, the usual first choice on that cross, suffered another injury.

With both players now out until at least the end of the calendar year, Klopp will need to keep an eye out for players in his squad – three in particular who have a chance to make their claim in the coming weeks.

The first and most obvious choice is a new signing, Fabio Carvalho, who was already on the fringes of the team. His most frequent minutes were spent on the left side of a front three, while also playing a more central role for Fulham last season.

A creative roll on the left in an attacking 4-4-2 should suit him almost perfectly, where he offers similar ball handling and drive to Jota, with better reach and timing of the creativity going into the field.

Of course, as a 20-year-old in his first season in the top flight, he doesn’t quite have the cunning of movement, the defensive tenacity or the back catalog of goalscorers in big games that Jota has – even if that knack has had the older Portuguese attacker in recent years Abandoned for months due to injuries and rotation.

Carvalho has been heralded as a player with tremendous prospects by Klopp, who started him as No8 in the Merseyside derby, while the youngster has already scored two Premier League goals this season, including a recent win against Newcastle.

He’s certainly first in line, a gap has opened up in the team now, but he’s yet to play more than half the action domestically.

On the comeback trail to full fitness and a better known name is Curtis Jones.

He’s been benched twice this season, but his only action on the pitch was a minute as a sub in the Community Shield, with a “stress reaction” affecting a bone around his shin for much of the season so far.

While not actually injured now, the club’s medical staff are wary of his workload and return and he missed training again on Monday, meaning an upcoming appearance in the starting XI is unlikely – but in the coming weeks he should be be able to play a bigger role, barring further setbacks.

Jones would hope to reach the 100-appearance mark for the Reds this season under normal circumstances, with his Wembley appearance being his 75th senior game, but it has now been two years of Covid stop-start action due to a series of frustrating issues , an unusual eye injury, concussion, and now this latest problem.

(Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

He was at times one of Klopp’s players of choice when fit and available, excellent possession to avoid pressure, reliable in distribution and with an inventive streak in his game that was sometimes hampered by playing a controlling role in the game Center of a 4-3-3.

Slightly freer in a more adventurous raiding role from the left – actually much more similar to some days of his youth squad – an additional element of Jones’ game could be showcased while he’s also demonstrated his ability to hit the target, too, from that channel’s Pitch.

Fitness and form may still take a while, but with eight games to play before the World Cup break there are chances to show your skills.

A lot from the last segment also applies to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is now also back in training.

He’s not in Liverpool’s European squad and Klopp says he still needs time to reach full fitness but he won’t play centrally in a two-man midfield. Crossing, however, is essentially his old role at Arsenal – both sides, keeping width and carrying the ball, are capable of connecting play quickly and being a potential goal threat.

(Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

However, all of this suggests that over time he will be close to peak form, which has been the 29-year-old’s constant concern since his serious knee injury.

Klopp’s squad is still deep enough to deal with injury-related absences, but quality and consistency will be the bigger concern.

Add in the possibilities of Harvey Elliott swapping crosses, playing Kostas Tsimikas in front of Andy Robertson or even filtering Darwin Nunez to the cross and Klopp has more options in play to change depending on the outcome and need.

It’s unlikely that at this point a single person will be able to produce multiple significant showings week after week for reasons ranging from decision making to a lack of sharpness – certainly not in the manner of a Diaz or Jota. But maybe together they can close the gap on the team enough that the other matchwinners can still thrive while the Reds try to get their season back on track.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/diogo-jota-injury-liverpool-jurgen-klopp-b2205220.html Diogo Jota injury: Jurgen Klopp’s alternatives in Liverpool attack suffer another blow

Fry Electronics Team

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