April 13, 2021

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Michael Owen and Ian Wright single out Diogo Jota after Arsenal win

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Owen thinks Jota will ‘definitely’ start against Real Madrid

Michael Owen and Ian Wright are in agreement that Diogo Jota will ‘definitely’ be starting for Liverpool in their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid after his match-winning display off the bench against Arsenal.

Jota replaced Andy Robertson just after the hour mark and broke the deadlock with a header three minutes later, before scoring a second to inflict a 3-0 defeat on Arsenal at the Emirates.

Mohamed Salah scored the other goal on Saturday night but Owen was left hugely impressed by the ‘stunning’ performance of Jota and he feels the 24-year-old has already become a player Jurgen Klopp will be able to trust in big moments for years to come.

‘Stunning. He’s been a stunning arrival really,’ former Liverpool striker Owen told Premier League Productions.

‘You think back at what might have been had he not got injured for a period of time. If you think about the impact he made straightaway and what he’s done in recent weeks as well.

‘It’s quite a staggering impact. It’s looking like a brilliant piece of business from Liverpool to pay all that money for someone so young as well.

Jota scored twice against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

‘He’s scoring all types of goals as well, with his head, left and right foot. He can play in midfield as an attacking player or play up there instead of someone like Firmino.

‘He’s been a brilliant signing and I think someone Liverpool can hang their hat on now for years to come. That trio of players: Salah, Mane and Firmino are all of a certain age where they will – they’ll get four, five, six years out of them – but you have to start thinking about youngsters coming through as well.’

Asked if he should start against Real Madrid on Tuesday night, Owen added: ‘He plays. Definitely.

‘I think he played before today, if I’m honest. He’s come back from international duty, scoring three goals in two games.

‘Most managers this weekend so far have rested a lot of their players who have played a lot of international football. Jurgen Klopp did exactly the same, he went for a bit of freshness with Firmino in there.

‘I think he’s going to start, who would have thought that? We’ve spoken about the three attacking players for Liverpool, never being challenged.

‘You would have thought he’s coming in for backup but in the blink of an eye – he’s had a decent sized injury in the middle as well – all of a sudden, I think if it’s the Champions League final tomorrow he’s one of the first names, he’s certainly starting.’

Wright, the former Arsenal striker, was in agreement: ‘You can’t disagree with that. You look at the three guys up front, they’re getting to that stage of their career, 29, 30s.

Wright has been greatly impressed by Jota (Picture: Premier League Productions)

‘You need that next person there. He’s obviously there. He’s ready to go.’

He continued: ‘You look at Roberto Firmino, who is one of my favourites. Because of maybe his goal output, which people can have a dig at him for, but what he brings to the team is magnificent… but what Jota brings, apart from the workrate, the press, is the goals, the impact.

‘You look at him now and think, yeah, he’s probably one of those that Liverpool have got who can come on. He can easily get 15 or 20 goals a season.

‘We’re talking about not being there for so long and he’s in, scoring goals and you feel he’s just going to be a mainstay, without a shadow of a doubt.’

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