Liverpool head to Wembley for their second domestic cup final of the season against Chelsea this afternoon, and all eyes will be on Jurgen Klopp’s team selection for the FA Cup showpiece.
The Reds still have two Premier League games and the Champions League final in Paris left to play this season. They are out again on Tuesday night, so it will be interesting to see how the manager lines up his front three in particular, with the attacking positions becoming even more competitive after the arrival of Luis Diaz in January.
That being said, Klopp must drop Diogo Jota from the starting line-up this afternoon and look to his other attacking options to secure a second trophy of the season for Liverpool.
Remarkably, the Portuguese forward has been rotating in and out of the team despite scoring 15 goals and contributing three assists in the Premier League this season, but it is his link-up play and ball control which could see the forward losing out when Klopp names his FA Cup final line-up today.
His goal-scoring abilities are undeniable, but when it comes to being effective in other areas of the game, he is underperforming compared to his fellow Liverpool forwards.
According to SofaScore, the 25-year-old has lost possession of the ball every 6.5 minutes in the Premier League this season, has a 75% pass accuracy, is dribbled past 1.2 times on average per match and has been unsuccessful in the majority of his dribbles (62%), which suggests that he could potentially struggle against a very experienced Chelsea defence.
In this particular match, it would be more beneficial to play Roberto Firmino, who has returned to fitness just in time for the final and can offer a more controlled approach to the game than the Portugal forward.
Compared to Jota, the 30-year-old is a bit more reliable in his link-up play and ball control, with an 80% pass accuracy, has only been dribbled past 0.7 times on average per game and is successful in 44% of his dribble attempts.
The Brazilian has been the lynchpin in Liverpool’s forward line for many years working alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, offering a wealth of experience which could be exactly what the Reds need in order to take control of the game early and secure a second trophy of the season.
Should Firmino start in the FA Cup final?
Ultimately, Klopp will be hoping that he can unlock the formula in claiming victory from Thomas Tuchel’s side within 90 minutes today, as his team has drawn three times with Chelsea this season already.
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