Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Diogo Jota’s fantastic start to his Liverpool career could spell trouble for Roberto Firmino.
As reported by Mirror, Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand has voiced his opinion on the impeccable form of Liverpool new signing Diogo Jota, claiming that it could severely impact Roberto Firmino’s role in the first-team.
“I’m sure Firmino will be sitting there compiling a little playback list to give to Klopp to remind him of what he’s capable of doing. Firmino, like it or not, will want to start and this guy’s putting him under huge pressure,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
His comments arrive shortly after Jota’s majestic performance against Atalanta, in the UEFA Champions League, where his hat-trick helped Liverpool secure a thumping 5-0 win. It also takes his overall scoring tally to seven goals this season for his new club, despite having featured in just ten matches in all competitions.
Jota’s rapid rise to prominence has served as a boon for Jurgen Klopp, who has lacked a reliable alternative for his offensive trifecta of Mohamed Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane for the past few years.
But while Mane and Salah have managed to consistently emerge as the main source of productivity for Liverpool, there have been growing concerns over the lack of it, from Firmino.
The Brazilian was involved in 17 goals in the Premier League last season and his overall work-ethic and technical prowess are often appreciated by not only Klopp but also the Liverpool fans. But, he falls behind other top strikers in the league considerably when it comes to finding the back of the net on a consistent basis.
This season, for example, Firmino has netted only one goal in all competition. His conversion rate in the Premier League this term has been just 12.5%, which is well below the average. Mo Salah, in contrast, has 23% while Jota has even higher, having scored five goals in his last two matches, although the lack of game-time makes that statistic way too invariable.
Either way, however, Klopp will indeed take note of the Portuguese’s incredible form, especially now that he has found a way to accommodate him as well as Salah and Mane into the same lineup, by deploying Salah as the false nine. It paid dividends in the last game, and it won’t be surprising to see the German tactician follow up on that in the coming matches.
That said, the congested fixture list means Firmino will likely remain Liverpool’s first-choice striker in the Premier League matches. But there is no doubt that he needs to step up his game if he wants to prove Ferdinand wrong.