Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may repeat Sadio Mane experiment with Diogo Jota

While the international break has helped numb the pain, the Liverpool squad and Jurgen Klopp may still be wondering if their 7-2 thrashing at Aston Villa was all a dream. Or nightmare. The humiliation at the hands of Dean Smith’s side last Sunday now seems a distant memory but there is a huge challenge ahead when they return to Melwood.

That’s because the Reds travel to Goodison Park to take on table-toppers Everton in the Merseyside derby.

Klopp will make no mistake that this may be his toughest derby to date due to the Toffees’ blistering start to the campaign.

Everton have won four matches from four and Carlo Ancelotti already has Klopp’s number if recent history is anything to go by.

During his time at Napoli, the Reds managed to beat the Italians just once from four group stage meetings.

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Ancelotti’s style has helped nullify Liverpool’s attack, hardly a promising recipe when paired with their leaky defence.

Klopp is likely to stick with his guns for the clash and bring Mane straight back in for Diogo Jota in the front free.

However, beyond that, Firmino’s poor form suggests there could be another experiment on the horizon.

In the past, Klopp has been happy to deploy Mane through the middle in a bid to bring some diversity to their frontline.


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He has played the role admirably on several occasions, while Salah has often been mistaken for a striker due to his prolific scoring record.

Yet with the arrival of Jota, Liverpool have found another string to their bow.

That’s because the 23-year-old is arguably at comfortable through the middle, where at Wolves he wreaked havoc with Raul Jimenez.

Liverpool are unlikely to ever deploy a two-man attack, but Jota knows how to play centrally and he is a goal threat.

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That was evident in his 11-minute cameo against Arsenal, when he scored on his Premier League debut for Liverpool at Anfield following his £41million switch.

With Mane and Salah either side, Jota has the nous to lead the line and give Firmino a rare chance to rest.

The Brazilian is currently enduring a difficult time and while he is the orchestrator who makes things tick, his goal record must be questioned when taking his minutes into account.

Firmino has been poor for a prolonged period of time and was one of the worst performers on the pitch against Villa.

Jota was bright throughout and has already proved he deserves to play for the champions and a small experiment could help bring the best from all of Liverpool’s Fab Four.

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