Football Features

Diogo Jota injury: Liverpool attackers must step up after latest blow

By Will Evans | Twenty3

Published: 18:21, 23 April 2024

Diogo Jota’s latest injury is a significant blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations.

The Reds have endured a difficult April — dropping points against Manchester United and Crystal Palace, as well as being eliminated from the Europa League by Atalanta.

It is no coincidence that Liverpool’s No.20 was absent for much of that period with a knee ligament tear, before returning to the starting XI for Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Fulham.

But news that Jota will miss another two weeks of action means Jurgen Klopp’s side must navigate a tricky set of fixtures without their Portuguese star.

Unexpected injury blow for Liverpool

Klopp revealed Jota’s injury in his pre-match press conference, ahead of Wednesday’s Merseyside derby clash with Everton.

He said: “Diogo scored the goal [against Fulham], felt a little bit and now we found out it’s a little bit more. So he will be out for two weeks.”

That could see the Porto native miss Liverpool’s matches against the Toffees, West Ham and Tottenham.

Everton had the joint-fourth best defensive record in the Premier League following Matchday 34 (48 goals against), while Spurs have only conceded one more than Sean Dyche’s outfit.

The Reds may rue Jota’s absence, if they are unable to break down their upcoming opponents.

Conversion issues

Liverpool’s recent struggles have largely been down to a lack of clinical finishing.

The Merseysiders racked up a remarkable 28 shots in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United earlier this month but could not outscore the Red Devils — despite their opponents mustering just nine efforts of their own.

And it was a similar story in the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, when Klopp’s team were unable to convert any of their 21 shots at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz’s combined xG from those two games was 3.44, yet the trio only scored two goals between them.

Class is permanent

No team in the Premier League had created more chances (501) or big chances (88) than Liverpool ahead of this week’s fixtures — and it is worth remembering that they have scored an impressive 75 goals this season.

Despite failing to hit his usual high standards in recent weeks, Salah has still struck 17 times across the campaign, with Nunez also registering a commendable 11 league efforts to date.

The Reds will undoubtedly miss Jota’s finishing ability, but there is enough quality in their attack to build on the win against Fulham.

A record of 75.67 expected goals is the best in England’s top flight and suggests that — with some confidence restored at Craven Cottage — Liverpool’s forward line can find their form once again.