Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand have provided differing verdicts on the threat Diogo Jota poses to Roberto Firmino when it comes to the latter's standing in the Liverpool team.
Firmino is well-liked in the dressing room and among the fans of the club after starring since he made the switch to Merseyside from 1899 Hoffenheim in 2015.
But a lack of goals from the Brazilian in comparison to fellow forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has been pointed out by pundits and fans aplenty in recent seasons as well, something which has been further scrutinised since Jota 's arrival.
The 23-year-old had netted eight goals in the Premier League and Champions League combined so far this season, with Owen suggesting that the Portuguese star should now be ahead of Firmino in the pecking order.
Owen told BT Sport: “I think he’s under threat because no-one could’ve foreseen how good this lad is. He surprised me, I liked him at Wolves, but all of a sudden, you watch him now and you think that he’s born to play in this Liverpool team.
"He’s quicker than I thought he was. I knew he was technically good, the timing of his runs, the way he’s linking, he has shown me that he can slot into those positions.
"The great thing about those strikers, they can all play with their backs to goal. They’re stronger than you think. Salah and Mane, in particular, they’re strong as an ox. They can run at you, they can all be all-round centre-forwards, but Jota has slipped in there seamlessly. You have to start him, if they had the Champions League final tomorrow, you can’t leave him out.”
Both Jota and Firmino started on the bench at Anfield, with former Manchester United star Ferdinand insisting that the latter is still an 'integral' part of the Liverpool squad.
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Ferdinand told BT Sport: “You can’t talk about Firmino with any negativity I think, even if he hasn’t scored the goals that Mane and Salah have scored. His importance to this team cannot be undervalued, the way he holds the ball up and brings others into play.
"He gets back into positions where defenders start creeping out and wondering if they should go with him, and he asks you that question. What does that do? It opens up space in behind for the other two to fly in to. Jota can do a bit of both as well. All four of them, they’re all comfortable across the front three.”