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07-Nov-2020, 09:08 pm

Salah defends Firmino in Liverpool benching debate but admits Jota has impressed

Sadio Mane Roberto Firmino Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2020-21

Mohamed Salah has defended Roberto Firmino from the criticism that has come his way of late, with it suggested that the Brazilian may lose his place as Liverpool’s number nine, but the Egyptian concedes that Diogo Jota has made an impressive impact.

Firmino has played an important role in that unit, with the selfless South American allowing those around him to flourish and often steal the headlines.

His value remains without question to many at Anfield, but the 29-year-old has struggled for goals of late while Jota has hit a purple patch.

Klopp now has a big decision to make when it comes to the leading of an attacking line, with Salah eager to stay out of a debate that includes a team-mate that he has enjoyed many productive outings alongside.

The prolific Reds forward told beIN Sports: “I cannot decide on this matter; it is the coach’s decision.

“But I cannot forget what Firmino gave to the team. You cannot say he should sit on the bench because he scored fewer goals than before.

“He gave the club everything he had in the past years. He creates many opportunities for us. Our playing tactic reduces his chances to score.

“We have played together for the past four years, and it is natural not to score in every match.

“What matters is what the team achieves as a whole, and I believe that we help the team a lot.”

Firmino has just one effort to his name this season, while being short on end product for some time, and is struggling to stake a serious claim for a starting berth.

That is because summer signing Jota has burst onto the scene since his arrival from Wolves, with the 23-year-old netting six times through his last four appearances – including a Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta.

Salah admits Jota has slotted seamlessly into the fold, saying of an in-form colleague: “Since he came, he has been scoring good goals in terms of quantity and quality, which is good for us.”

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