Robbie Earl has been speaking on the latest instalment of The 2 Robbies podcast, where he revealed how important he believes Diogo Jota will be for Liverpool in the remainder of the campaign.
The reigning Premier League champions have endured a difficult defence of their title this season and are currently sitting in sixth position, 25 points behind league leaders Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have been badly affected by injuries throughout the current campaign, with long-term issues sidelining Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez for significant periods, but Earl believes one man’s absence has been overlooked.
Jota hit the ground running after signing for the Reds from Wolves in a £41m deal last summer, scoring nine goals in his first 17 appearances for the club until a knee injury ruled the Portugal international out for 19 matches.
In his absence, Liverpool’s season collapsed as they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and suffered six league defeats, and Earl explained how the £36m-rated man’s return to action could be vitally important in the Reds’ remaining fixtures.
He said: (24:45) “A lot of talk about all the defenders and centre-backs they’ve lost, Van Dijk’s probably the best in the league, Gomez and Matip. We’ve got to talk about Henderson and Fabinho being out, and they can’t get the press and the intensity in their ability in the middle of the park.
“No one really talked about Diogo Jota’s loss when the spark went out the front line, and his ability, Rob, to play in any of the three positions, his ability to change the chemistry, to do different, to make clever runs in behind, he’s got a little bit of tenacity about him.
“I think people didn’t really realise it and it shown, just by coming on, the slight change of system where there was a bit more of a 4-2-3-1 and you can play Firmino in a little bit more of a hole, where he can play and do the things he likes to do. I think he’s going be as important as any Liverpool player between now and the end of the season, Diogo Jota. He’s just brought an energy back to Liverpool that was missing.”
TIF Thoughts on Jota…
Three points against the Gunners were enough to move Klopp’s side to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who fell to a surprising defeat against West Brom, and kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive.
With Liverpool’s famed front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all below their best this season, Jota could well be the key man for the 2019 champions for the remainder of the campaign.