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‘Jota will not replace him’ Liverpool legend defends Firmino

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Despite his impressive form of late, Diogo Jota should not replace Roberto Firmino in the Liverpool lineup, says John Barnes.

Diogo Jota grabbing a Champions League hat-trick doesn’t prove he should replace Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s starting line-up against Manchester City this weekend.

The above opinion is according to Reds legend John Barnes, who has defended the Brazilian striker and hit back at claims he doesn’t score enough goals.

Jota has proven to be a shrewd signing for Liverpool since he joined from Wolves over the summer. The £45m man took his tally to seven goals in ten appearances with a fine trio against Atalanta on Tuesday night.

The Portuguese ace started and finished a 5-0 rout in Italy, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also finding the net.

Jota’s flying start at Anfield has many tipping the 23-year-old to take Firmino’s place in the first team for this weekend’s showdown with title rivals Man City.

But Barnes explained why that should not happen when quizzed on the trending topic.

“Jota scored a hat-trick, but that doesn’t mean he automatically goes into the team against Man City,” said the Anfield legend to talkSPORT.

“I think who plays depends on what the games are and who they’re against and how that team plays.”

“Against Man City, where you’re not going to have as much possession, maybe Firmino will be a better bet. You need a player like Bobby Firmino to not only get hold of the ball but also do his defensive work.”

“If you’re playing a game against Atalanta or Leeds, a more open team, they you can see Jota coming in.”

“It’s the same with Thiago, If you play Man City you won’t necessarily play Thiago, you play Wijnaldum, Henderson and Fabinho who are much stronger defensively.”

“I think Klopp will chop and change this season, and I don’t think it’s a reflection on who he feels is better, it’s more about who they are playing against.”

“The good thing about it is Jota and Thiago can now come into the team and take over from any of the players in midfield or up front and do a great job, and that’s what you want.”

Barnes also argues that the reason Salah and Mane score a lot of goals is due to Firmino and Jota might not bring the same effect. The question is still up for debate but Jota definitely deserves a run in the first team based on current form as it stands.