Liverpool fans were left bemused after ex-Tottenham Hotspur forward Garth Crooks left Diogo Jota out of his team of the week, despite the Portuguese scoring twice as the Reds beat Southampton 4-0
Garth Crooks says Diogo Jota ‘s Liverpool team-mates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were the reason behind the Portuguese not making his Premier League team of the week.
Jota scored twice during the Reds’ 4-0 win at home to Southampton on Saturday, but was labelled “ordinary” by Crooks compared to his fellow forwards.
The Anfield faithful were surprised about Jota’s omission, with Salah and Mane preferred ahead of him despite neither netting a goal.
While naming his forward line, which was completed by Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, pundit Crooks explained on BBC Sport ‘s website: “Some of my readers will be a little surprised that Diogo Jota is nowhere to be seen among my selections this week.
“That’s because I thought his performance (two goals or not) was ordinary in comparison to Sadio Mane and especially Salah.
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Crooks, who starred for Tottenham Hotspur during his playing days in the 1980s, went on to heap praise Salah, who has been nominated for Ballon d’Or which will be awarded on Monday evening in Paris.
“The Egypt international is a joy to watch at the moment,” Crooks continued.
“There isn’t a better striker in the word than Salah when he is playing for the team and not merely chasing goals. Against the Saints he was superb.
“What amazes me about Salah is his strength. He is lightning quick and extremely strong on the ball. However, Liverpool have a problem.
“They lose both Mane and Salah to the African Nations Cup in January. I wonder what impact that is going to have on their title chances.”
At least Jota’s own manager raved about his performance, with Jurgen Klopp saying: ” He has the speed and desire to finish situations off and is really good.
“His goalscoring record is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, he had a big injury last year and that is never helpful.
“But he is back, thank God, and fits really well in this team and I’m really happy with him.”
However, Klopp often opts not to start the 24-year-old but acknowledged the forward’s attitude towards sometimes having to make do with a place on the Liverpool bench.
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“It’s not written in stone that we always start with the same line-up,” the Reds boss added post-match.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise that our other players are good. But it’s about making 35 really good games instead of getting somehow through a season and playing for 50 games.
“It’s completely normal that you have to be rested. For these moments you need more than 11 in the squad and you need more than the three strikers, even when you play with three.
“Diogo was smart enough to see that and that’s why he made the move and can contribute so well.”