Solskjaer is the big loser along with PSG. Thiago Silva, Jota and Man City are all winners.
People often talk about cycles in football, whether it be tactical shifts from 4-4-2 and the low block to 4-3-3 and false nines, or the typical Jose Mourinho three-year spell at a club before it all goes kaput. It was a question asked of Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool ahead of this season: how long will their cycle of dominance last?
It was a holistic question really aimed at the Fab Three. How long can Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino be so consistently brilliant? It was a daft question. Barring injuries – to which they appear basically immune – there’s no reason why they couldn’t be Liverpool’s arrowhead for the next three seasons at least.
No, the question – although the non-Liverpool supporters among us were fearful to contemplate the answer – really should have been: can they be even better? For f***’s sake, yes they can. Those slightly perplexed by the £40million spent on a player not starting for Wolves are now left with that familiar sense of begrudging acknowledgement. Liverpool did it again: Diogo Jota is a potential superstar.
Ready to field the inevitable questions as to whether Roberto Firmino could be left out in the cold after Jota’s stunning hat-trick against Atalanta, Klopp responded: “It is important we have more than 11 and tonight Diogo played a super game and that says nothing about Bobby and nothing to do with causing me headaches.”
He’s right, of course. Particularly in a season like this, the Fab Three were always going to need suitable back-up and Klopp’s reasoning for starting Jota in Bergamo suggested a horses for courses approach that he has already expertly negotiated with his midfield.
But he must privately know his favoured front trio. And although he – like us – loves Firmino, recognising his input in building this Liverpool team into what they are and his continuing worth, his form has dipped significantly. He’s not scoring goals and – more significantly – not creating them either Continue reading