Was it a new dawn, or merely a new day, as the calls for Diogo Jota to start against Manchester City began to reverberate?
And yet, Jurgen Klopp responded to the critics of Roberto Firmino by going so far as to say “I can’t help these people, sorry. If they don’t see it, I cannot help them. That’s how it is,” as quoted by the Standard.
So why is the Brazilian’s place under threat? As the number nine struggles to hit the back of the net, the pressure mounting on the forward is beginning to take its toll.
How so? With Jota consistently delivering big match performances so far, Liverpool’s front three could be set for a significant shake-up.
The Portuguese looks everything that the Brazilian isn’t, thus far. Pacy, direct and most important of all— a predatory instinct that few in world football possess.
With that in mind, Klopp will face one of the most important decisions of his tenure. Withdrawing Firmino from the firing line could swing either way.
If not managed right, the Brazilian may become a shadow of the man, who the Kop endear so much. But if done correctly, the Brazilian could rekindle the hunger and flair that has lit up Anfield in the years gone by.
So long as Liverpool continue to pile up victories, the calls for Firmino to make way may eventually boil down.
But with the prospect of Jota stacking up the top-class performances, Klopp will need to use all the man-management skills at his disposal.
Firmino, for the first time, races a real fight on his hands.
Written by Hasib Afzal