December 3, 2021

Jota would start ahead of Firmino for Liverpool if Champions League final was tomorrow, claims Owen

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The ex-Reds striker admits to bring “surprised” by the impact the summer signing has made at Anfield, with the Portuguese becoming impossible to drop

Diogo Jota’s stunning start to life at Liverpool means that if the Champions League final were tomorrow, the Portuguese would be selected ahead of Roberto Firmino, according to Michael Owen.

The Reds moved to add another attacking option to their ranks during the summer transfer window. Jurgen Klopp put a £45 million ($58m) deal in place with Wolves, with Jota welcoming the opportunity to link up with the star-studded squad at Anfield.

The faith shown in him has been rewarded with eight goals in 13 appearances with the 23-year-old exceeding expectations on Merseyside.

Jota’s work rate and end product have endeared him to the fan base and led many to suggest that he has become impossible to drop.

Owen is among those to hold such an opinion, with the former Reds striker claiming that the established Brazil international No 9 would miss out if Klopp had to make the selection call.

“I think he’s under threat because no-one could’ve foreseen how good this lad is,” Owen told BT Sport of the challenge Firmino faces from Jota. “He surprised me, I liked him at Wolves, but all of a sudden, you watch him now and you think that he’s born to play in this Liverpool team.

“He’s quicker than I thought he was. I knew he was technically good, the timing of his runs, the way he’s linking, he has shown me that he can slot into those positions.

“The great thing about those strikers, they can all play with their backs to goal. They’re stronger than you think. [Mohamed] Salah and [Sadio] Mane, in particular, they’re strong as an ox. They can run at you, they can all be all-round centre-forwards, but Jota has slipped in there seamlessly.

“You have to start him, if they had the Champions League final tomorrow, you can’t leave him out.”

Jota was introduced off the bench in Liverpool’s disappointing 2-0 defeat to Atalanta in continental competition on Wednesday, which leaves the Reds’ qualification for the Champions League round of 16 still under question.

However, he will be pushing hard for a recall when the Reds take on Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.