Jurgen Klopp ought to consider leaving Roberto Firmino out of his Liverpool side after Jamie Carragher claimed the forward was no longer first choice.
Firmino has come under fire recently for a start to the season which has seen him score just once in 12 games. Klopp though defended the 29-year-old after the 5-0 win over Atalanta.
Contrast that with the form of new boy Diogo Jota, who has blasted seven goals in 11 games and it’s easy to see why there are calls to play Jota against their biggest rivals.
Klopp did surprise Manchester City on Sunday by playing both Firmino and Jota alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But while the attacking approach did pay dividends, Carragher has now suggested Firmino could benefit from time on the sidelines.
Asked who makes up Klopp’s strongest front three at this moment in time, the ex-Reds defender told talkSPORT: “Mane, Jota, Salah.
“Firmino isn’t in great form right now but that could change if Liverpool get to a final. But I don’t think he was in great form last season either.
“Even though Liverpool won the league, certain things got masked. Firmino didn’t score a goal at home in the Premier League until the last game against Chelsea.
“Liverpool fans are educated enough to know that Firmino’s role is not to be scoring the goals. Liverpool’s goalscorers play wide and they know he can create, win the ball back and start the press. But even when I looked at his pressing stats last weekend, they aren’t the numbers they usually are.
“It doesn’t mean if he goes out and Jota goes in that that’s the end of his career. He should just sit on the bench for three or four games.”
Jota can take pressure off Salah, Mane
Carragher believes Jota might be the most predatory frontman Liverpool have had in years. He also reckons his inclusion in the side can take the pressure off Mane and Salah.
“When you’re not playing well and you come on as a substitute, it’s hard to have a bad game as a sub,” he said.
“The reason why I’d play Jota is because Liverpool don’t have many goalscorers.
“Virgil van Dijk is a goalscorer from set pieces, the midfield three don’t really score, there’s no Gerrard or Lampard figure in there. The centre forward’s not scoring.
“If you put Jota in there then it takes the pressure of Mane and Salah.”
Carragher reckons Liverpool’s 4-2-3-1 formation worked OK against City, though he did admit he had reservations to begin with.
“I didn’t think it went horribly wrong. I’ll be honest, when I saw the team I felt Liverpool are going to have big problems and [Kevin] De Bruyne would run the show.
“Liverpool nullified his threat very well and that’s credit to Mane and Jota.
“For me, De Bruyne is the best player in the Premier League and he hardly got any space in the game.
“The three or four times that he did, he set the goal up and he set Raheem Sterling up for the best chance in the first half and he had a couple shots outside the box.
“That is the best Liverpool have ever played against City at the Etihad. They’ve lost 4-0 and 5-0 under Klopp and 2-1 in that pivotal game for the title.
“Even though Liverpool played four attackers, it was the best they’ve ever been defensively.”
The post Pundit claims fading Liverpool star needs time on the bench appeared first on teamtalk.com.