Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards has been talking about Liverpool forward Diogo Jota recently.
Richards believes that Jota is too good of a footballer to be on Liverpool’s bench.
Richards made the aforementioned comment after Jota came on as a second half substitute against West Ham United last weekend.
Jota scored the winner against the Hammers at Anfield. Liverpool secured a 2-1 victory.
Richards told Sky Sports about Jota: “You’ve got Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum in midfield, quite similar: work hard, can pass the ball. I’d be tempted to throw him in the midfield role, or drop Firmino back and play [Jota] out on the wing.
“He’s got that technical ability, he can find a pass. I watched him a load at Wolves, even in the Championship before he came to the Premier League, thinking, ‘can he step up?’. He showed he can do that at Wolves. And now he’s playing with even better players.
“I wouldn’t be too hasty in trying to get Firmino out of the team because he’s done an exceptional job for the way Liverpool want to play. I’m talking about putting Jota in that hole, there’s space in there for him. He’s too good to be on the bench. But it’s just finding that right spot for him.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
There is no denying that Jota is a very good footballer. There is a reason that he cost Liverpool €44.70 million in the summer.
The reality is, Liverpool predominantly play a 4-3-3 under manager Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool’s front three since the beginning of the 2017-18 season has been Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
It is a front three that has had recent success. The aforementioned front three scored 45 goals and registered 24 assists between them in the Premier League last season.
So, unless Jota is going to replace one of Mane, Salah or Firmino, there is no spot for him in the starting XI.
Richards suggests that Jota could play in midfield. But, by playing Jota deeper, the team lose his goalscoring prowess.
With that being the case, we only want to see Jota being played as a forward for Liverpool, even if that means he starts less games.
We believe that it is good to have players on the bench that are good enough to start games in the first XI.
It ultimately means that if a player in the first XI suffered an injury, there is an adequate replacement on the bench.
Freelance sports journalist and Red from Melbourne. Currently an editor at Anfield Watch.