In pictures: Porto v Liverpool
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Liverpool have been somewhat written off as Premier League favourites with Manchester City and Chelsea hogging the limelight but write off the Reds at your own peril. Jurgen Klopp’s men mean business – but there is one decision he must take which will not come lightly.
Liverpool can make their Premier League dreams a reality this season – but it will take a big decision on Klopp’s behalf.
The Reds may not have strengthened much in the summer transfer window unlike their rivals City, Chelsea and Manchester United.
But, in some ways, they might not have needed to with one of the best XIs in football – their attack still a frightening prospect for teams across Europe.
Their 5-1 demolition of Porto on Tuesday night spoke volumes as Liverpool look to reassert themselves as a continental power.
Last season was a tough one for the Reds, who suffered some difficult injuries to the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
But they are out to right those wrongs and are looking good value in the Premier League – the title they lost to City last season – and have as good a chance as their rivals in reclaiming it.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane remain undroppable – their goalscoring antics mean that they are a danger to every side they face – but what does Klopp do about Roberto Firmino?
It was not long ago when the German insisted that the forward was the main man of the three.
“Mo Salah, world class, but not every day. Sadio Mane, world class, but not every day. Roberto Firmino, world class, pretty much every day,” he said in 2018.
However, Liverpool have got to a point where they cannot let Diogo Jota be a bit-part player – he simply is too good to leave out.
That means dropping Firmino to the bench, an unthinkable stance for Klopp earlier in his reign.
The Brazilian has started in fine fashion to his credit, netting twice in the win over Porto, but he has just one in the Premier League whereas Jota has three.
Last season, Firmino found domestic life tough, too, scoring nine times in the league despite missing just two matches while Jota reached that tally in half the time – limited only by injury.
Jota’s versatility across the frontline makes him a valuable asset to Klopp – especially with the Afcon around the corner, meaning a temporary farewell to Mane and Salah.
But when all four are present and fit, the Liverpool boss will have to make a decision to drop one and that would have to be his world-class Firmino.
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