Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota have certainly been on the opposite end of the form spectrum this season. While Bobby has notched one goal, new boy Diogo has been on fire, racking up three decisive goals in a week. Last night, he added a hat-trick. Naturally, that has led to some calls for the Portuguese attacker to start against Manchester City.
Speaking at the Atalanta post-match press conference, Jürgen Klopp dismissed the idea of a selection headache:
“Good performances never give me a headache. That was the decision tonight, it made sense to use the shape Diogo was in, and because of the way Atalanta plays and defends, it made sense that the skillset of Diogo helps.
But the world is sometimes really in a bad place when the moment someone’s shining, we speak immediately about another player who had played what feels like 500 games in a row. We would not even be in the Champions League if Bobby Firmino wasn’t with us, and immediately I have to explain why he’s not in the team. He will be in the team.
For a lot of people in the world, if you asked them what makes Liverpool on Sunday special, they would say the way Bobby Firmino is playing. It’s important for us that we have more than 11, and tonight Diogo used his shape in an incredible way and played a super, super game. But that says nothing about Bobby and has nothing to do with causing me headaches. I’m more than happy that the boys played like that tonight.”
Of course, lazy punditry will reach for this easy low-hanging fruit: that Firmino is on his way out and Jota is taking his place. But Diogo Jota’s signing was meant to do this. We now have that fourth guy who can come in and offer us similar production, and maybe even do something different. It’s good to have options. We have an attacking buffet. Let’s savour each and every one of them.