Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to make a ruthless selection call and axe Roberto Firmino for Diogo Jota.
Jota has started the Reds’ last two games, having returned from a knee injury which has kept him out since early December.
While he has not yet rediscovered his blistering scoring form from earlier in the season, he was lively in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in midweek, forcing a number of saves from keeper Peter Gulacsi.
And as the Reds prepare to face Jota’s former club Wolves on Monday, Carragher has called for Klopp to keep faith with the 24-year-old – even when Firmino returns from his current injury problem.
The former Reds defender reckons the Brazilian striker has been lucky that Jota has been sidelined for so long – saying otherwise he would have been in danger of losing his place.
And asked about the prospect of Jota starting ahead of his team-mate, Carragher told CBS Sports: “I have been calling for that a while.
“I think Firmino has been fortunate that Jota has been out for so long because I think he was on the verge of breaking that front three up, really.”
Jota hit the ground running after joining Liverpool from Wolves in September, scoring five goals in nine Premier League games plus another four in the Champions League before falling victim to a knee injury.
Firmino has been crucial to the Reds’ success over the past few seasons, with his intelligent and unselfish play allowing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to grab the goals and the headlines.
But the striker has been under increased scrutiny amid Liverpool’s poor recent form, with the 29-year-old having scored just one goal since Boxing Day.
And Carragher said it was notable that against Leipzig Jota played centrally – which is normally Firmino’s role.
“It’s just interesting that he went central,” said the former England man, quoted by Metro. “I think, at the weekend, it was Salah who went through the middle and Jota was in a wide position.
With the Cheltenham Festival only just around the corner, we are giving you the chance to sign up to our free updates ahead of one of the biggest weeks in racing.
Racing Digest will give you daily updates around all the big stories – including tips, offers, results and much more. To sign up, simply put your email into the box below, and we’ll do the rest. You’ll also receive plenty of tips and info outside of Cheltenham too… after all, the Grand National isn’t far away either.
So get signed up, join our club and get ready for the inside scoops on the greatest week in jumps racing.
“But Jota is a bigger goal threat, right at this moment. We know Firmino brings other things.
“But to just think that Liverpool need to get as many goalscorers as possible on the pitch because the midfield players don’t score, the full-backs create and they have lost Van Dijk. Jota needs to be on that pitch.”