Why Michael Owen is wrong and £75,000/week Liverpool star will start against Manchester City despite supposed clue

Michael Owen has predicted who will start for Liverpool based on what he saw from Jürgen Klopp’s seemingly tactical substitutions on Wednesday evening.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were both withdrawn early from the game as Liverpool acknowledged the context within which their quarterfinal first leg took place.

As much as Klopp and his players will insist that they will take the rest of the season one game at a time, the German had the privilege of removing his two best attackers from the pitch in the 61st minute.

Diaz remained on the field and wrapped up the game in the 87th minute when he rounded the goalkeeper and finished with aplomb but Owen doesn’t expect him to start against City.

Michael Owen expects Klopp to bench Diaz for Man City

The Colombian was Liverpool’s Man of the Match, scoring and assisting to take the Reds a step closer to booking their place in the 2022 Champions League semifinals.

However, first and foremost, they need to turn their attention to the colossal task of facing Manchester City in the Premier League which feels like a title decider even if there will be 7 games remaining after this weekend’s showdown.

“The way Jurgen Klopp manages his substitutes suggests maybe not,” Owen told BT Sport when asked if he thinks Diaz will start against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp

“Bringing Mo Salah and Sadio Mane off, you’d think Jota would have to play with how well he’s been playing lately and not starting today.

“Potentially not, but before the game I thought he might do.

“Based on that today, leaving him on for the full game, he (Klopp) might be thinking of the other three.”

Why Diaz will and should start against Manchester City

Although Owen’s argument is valid, the Colombian didn’t start against Watford in the Premier League and so he didn’t need to be withdrawn the way Mane and Salah did.

Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp

The two African stars have played huge volumes of football for Liverpool and Egypt and Senegal respectively of late and with an intense fixture coming up, they needed a rest more than anyone.

Klopp doesn’t need to rest Diaz off the back of one game and given that it was his best display in a Liverpool shirt to date and that he has experience playing against City and slicing them apart, he’s needed.

There’s also the match rhythm aspect that needs to be taken into consideration as Diogo Jota was fantastic against Watford but may have lost some of his momentum by sitting on the bench while Diaz is fresh, confident and can play a wide role that nobody else can.

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

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