Jota is struggling for a place in Liverpool’s starting line-up following the arrival of Luis Diaz in January, with the attacker struggling against Aston Villa on Tuesday
Image: Sky Sports)
Diogo Jota started this season as one of Liverpool’s key players but a warning from Jamie Carragher suggests he could lose his battle for a place in the team.
The signing of Luis Diaz in January has added fresh competition to Jurgen Klopp’s forward options, with the Colombian having been the star since his arrival. Diaz has usually filled the left wing role, with Mohamed Salah being the clear starter on the right.
This leaves Jota and Sadio Mane battling for selection through the middle, a battle the Senegalese international has increasingly won in recent weeks. Jota was given the opportunity to start on Tuesday when Liverpool traveled to Aston Villa.
Salah was rested, Diaz switched to the right, Mane was picked through the middle and Jota played on the left. Diaz scored the goal Mane scored to put the Reds ahead while Jota failed to impress.
And since Mane has the ability to switch positions with ease, Jota has a problem going forward. That’s an issue Carragher addressed after defeating Villa as he welcomed Mane’s versatility.
“You can always find him in the top three [Mane]. When Diaz came and he started so well, he wants to play on the left, which is Mane’s position. Salah will always play on the right flank, then he quarrels with Jota, who has been a goalscoring sensation since joining Liverpool,” he told Sky Sports.
WILL YOU PARTICIPATE! Who should start for Liverpool against Chelsea in the FA Cup final? Comment below.
“I wouldn’t say he sacrificed himself but he came on the right wing first, then Salah came and he switched to the left. Then he’s fantastic on the left, Diaz came on the left and he switched to a centre-forward.
“He’s always moving for someone else but his performances don’t let up. He’s still producing. The others are great players but to ask those players in a different position in the top three they probably wouldn’t be at their best. But It doesn’t seem to matter where he plays in the top three, it’s never a problem.”
Carragher’s analysis was proved correct by Jota’s performance against Villa, with the Portugal international struggling widely. He had just two shots total, failed to dribble and had a pass rate of just 72 percent.
Mane and Diaz, meanwhile, drove Liverpool to a win that keeps alive their faint hopes of overtaking Manchester City. While Salah has struggled lately, the Egyptian’s performances this season make him a surefire starter.
Jota’s failure to capitalize on his chance against Villa coupled with Carragher’s Mane warning leaves the 25-year-old facing a challenging end to the season. His goal drought of five top-flight games sees him drop significantly down the pecking order at Anfield and lose his battle to feature for Klopp’s side.
That could be key as the campaign enters its final weeks as Liverpool have the FA Cup and Champions League final ahead of them. If Jota is going to start one of these big games, he needs to start taking his chances no matter what position he’s picked at.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/liverpool-diogo-jota-sadio-mane-26936470 Jamie Carragher's Sadio Mane warning suggests Diogo Jota is losing Liverpool 'battle'