Diogo Jota may have replaced Roberto Firmino in the Liverpool front three after his stunning hat-trick away at Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday night, believe Michael Owen and Peter Crouch.
The summer signing became only the third Liverpool player to score an away hat-trick in the Champions League after Sadio Mane and Owen, as the Reds romped to a 5-0 win.
Jota has now scored seven goals in his first 10 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, while in contrast, established striker Firmino has scored just one goal in 11 appearances this campaign.
Michael Owen feels that Jota has now moved ahead of Firmino to play alongside Mane and Mohamed Salah, not only thanks to his goals, but also his assists.
‘It was a stunning hat-trick he scored there,’ the former Liverpool striker told BT Sport.
‘It was a masterclass, really from the whole Liverpool team, but particularly the front three.
‘When you come to a new club you want to be accepted by your new team, he’s scored a few goals already, but you want to get the respect of your teammates.
‘We’ve been thinking it already, leading up to this game, “has he done enough already to dislodge that unbelievable front three?”
‘Firmino has done it over a long period of time, however, his goals have dried up a bit, his assists have dried up a little bit, and now this lad’s come in.
‘He can assist as well as score goals, we’ve seen it tonight, could have scored a hat-trick already, he is pretty special.’
Peter Crouch agreed, saying: ‘We never thought we’d break up the front three with Firmino in there as well, but if I’m Firmino now, I’m slightly worried.’
Former Manchester United man Rio Ferdinand added: ‘I’m sure Firmino will be sitting there compiling a little playback list to give to Klopp to remind him of what he’s capable of doing.
‘Firmino will want to start and this guy’s put him under huge pressure.’
Salah and Mane scored a goal each as well and Jota is delighted with the chemistry with his new teammates.
‘Obviously two world class players,’ said the Portuguese. ‘Their quality makes it easier for me to do my job because they are outstanding players and we played a great game today.’