With Liverpool lacking fluidity and confidence in the final third, there is one decision in particular that appears to be haunting Jurgen Klopp. Back at the beginning of December when top spot was all wrapped up in the Champions League group stages, Liverpool headed to Scandinavia to take on Midtjylland in their final match in Group D.
Youngsters Rhys Williams and Leighton Clarkson were handed starts while fringe players such as Kostas Tsimikas and Takumi Minamino were handed the chance to get some minutes under their belt.
Eyebrows were raised though when Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota were named on the team-sheet.
Liverpool’s squad was starting to feel the effects of several high-profile injuries in the first half of the campaign.
They were already down to just one senior centre-back in the form of Joel Matip, which is why Fabinho’s inclusion in Denmark was a shock.
Thankfully, their ‘Fab Four’ in attack were firing and providing hope that Liverpool could still retain the title despite their struggles in the medical room.
Six weeks have now passed and Klopp has now revealed the £45million signing from Wolves is still a few weeks away from returning.
“Diogo is still a few weeks away, don’t know exactly how long but it will not be in the next one or two weeks,” Klopp explained.
“He needs time and the injury needs time. And how much I miss a player is not important as when a player is not there I’m not allowed to miss him, I never think like that.
“It’s just he’s not there and that’s why we have to deal with the situation, but we are all happy, hopefully in the near future when he will be back again.”
The Liverpool boss also revealed that Jota’s knee is still in a brace.
“Diogo’s knee brace is partly off,” added Klopp. “That is how it is. At home he is wearing it. Here he is not,” he added.
Klopp hasn’t got much wrong during his incredible five-and-a-half-year reign at Liverpool but during a season of fine margins, his choice to play Jota in the Champions League dead rubber could prove costly.
Liverpool head into tonight’s clash with Burnley at Anfield in fourth, six points behind leaders Manchester United. In Jota’s absence, Liverpool have taken just 10 points from a possible 21.
They have not scored in three Premier League matches and are struggling to break down organised, compact defences. For that reason, Burnley are not the kind of side Liverpool want to be facing at this given moment.
Still, the Reds can look forward to the injection of quality Jota will serve up when he returns to the fold.
If Liverpool can remain in the picture until then, there’s every chance the prolific forward could get their season back on track following the recent decline.