Jurgen Klopp must start £54million “pressing monster” in Liverpool’s next two games

Liverpool beat Watford 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday with Diogo Jota among the goals and he must start again tonight against Benfica.

April 2022 could go down as one of the most pivotal months in recent history for the Reds and a trip to Portugal to face Benfica is where the journey picks up after a comfortable win over the Hornets at the weekend.

While players and staff may not speak about it publicly, Liverpool are in a strong position to compete for the quadruple and if they win their next two games, that position will only get stronger.

Diogo Jota

Jurgen Klopp can put one foot in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals with a strong win over Benfica this evening before the attention will turn to Manchester City at the weekend.

While the boss will tell journalists that he and his players are taking it one game at a time, his team selection tonight will tell you a different story altogether.

Who starts and who doesn’t will be an indication of who will and who won’t start against Manchester City on Sunday as the German is a big believer in players needing match rhythm to perform at their best.

Jurgen Klopp

Diogo Jota has to start in my opinion. This season, he has been clinical for the Reds and in a game that will come down to moments, you want a player like the Portuguese in the side.

In all competitions, the 25-year-old has 20 goals and 3 assists and has shown why he was such a big miss last season when he picked up a serious knee injury.

Not only is Jota’s goalscoring prowess obviously an important factor in him starting over the likes of Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino but his pressing ability is key too.

Diogo Jota

In pre-season, when he arrived for training for the first time, Pep Lijnders wrote in his training camp diary that Liverpool’s £54m-rated “pressing monster [had] just arrived” and against both Benfica and Manchester City, his presence is vital.

He is often the trigger for Liverpool to press from the front as well as counter-pressing in small units to win the ball back as soon as it’s been conceded.

Given how important transition and turnover will be in Liverpool’s next two games, Jota’s reactions, intelligence and finishing cannot be left on the sidelines.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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