Firmino replaced Jota on 65 minutes – and perhaps that is a sign of Klopp’s plans for the trip to City. Neither Mane or Salah came off at the same time, though the Portugal international had just sustained a slight knock in a challenge.
Liverpool, the reigning champions, can make a statement with victory at City and leaving the in-form Jota out of the team is surely now impossible – provided he’s fit.
Yet Klopp is rarely one not to start Firmino in a match of such proportions, even though the Atalanta game was a big fixture in itself, and Salah and Mane are surefire starters in Manchester.
To play both Firmino and Jota would require Liverpool to switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation with which this season they have not looked fully familiar.
Their best displays, in wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Atalanta, have all come in their standard 4-3-3 set-up.
The Champions League win over Atalanta came off the back of a poor run of performances – despite winning those games – and the swagger and style of Liverpool’s attack, which interchanged with devastating ease given the abilities of Jota to move out wide and Salah and Mane to move central, was world’s apart from their last few outings.
Similarly, after Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri came off of the bench against West Ham and Firmino came off, Liverpool were much brighter in the final third.
Published at Tue, 03 Nov 2020 21:50:00 +0000