Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Liverpool need a healthy Diogo Jota to replace Sadio Mane

Diogo Jota must get healthy if Liverpool are to overcome the departure of Sadio Mane this season.

German football journalist Raphael Honigstein joined The Football Show to discuss Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp and Diogo Jota.

Diogo Jota is currently injured. He did not play against Manchester United last week and hasn't featured for Liverpool yet this season.

With Darwin Nunez suspended, Roberto Firmino struggling for fitness and Sadio Mane playing for Bayern Munich, Liverpool are struggling upfront. Mane's absence is particularly notable. Many are suggesting that Mane is the difference between Liverpool this season and last.

It's true that Mane was an integral part of that Liverpool team. He is almost as valuable as Mohamed Salah, especially since he was the harder worker of the two wingers.

But while Mane is a huge loss, Diogo Jota's absence is what is really hurting Liverpool right now. That is according to Raphael Honigstein. Jota is the only Liverpool player who can replicate what Liverpool lost when Mane left.

"It's a massive loss when Diogo Jota is not on the pitch," Honigstein said.

"When Jota is there, you have all the energy. You have everything that Mane does in a slightly different way. But I would say it's as close as a one-to-one as you will get in terms of the energy, in terms of the application.

"Jota might not always have a great game, but like Mane he will never go missing...that sheer energy is infectious and helps everyone else."

It's not just Jota's absence that cost Liverpool against Manchester United. The assumption is that when everyone is healthy, Salah, Luis Diaz and one of Jota or Nunez will start upfront. Roberto Firmino is firmly in a backup role. But Diaz may not be guaranteed his starting spot either.

Honigstein believes that Nunez and Jota together are vitally important because of how porous Liverpool's midfield is proving to be.

"Without him and without Nunez, again it's not quite the same.

"They looked a little bit leggy, they looked a little bit isolated. But I would say the biggest issue was behind them in midfield. How many times did we see Mohamed Salah touching the ball and someone being close to him? There seemed to be these huge gaps.

"The game was very, very stretched and then it becomes very, very difficult.

"A lot of it was down to the midfield, passing sideways when they could have been more incisive."

Jordan Henderson, James Milner are past it


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DIOGO JOTA Football Show Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Raphael Honigstein Sadio Mane