A local Liverpool fan has seen his world turned upside-down by the sudden scoring form of new Reds arrival Diogo Jota.
Wayne Kerr, 28, has spent the last three years defending Robert “Bobby” Firmino’s declining goal return with less and less convincing platitudes as each barren scoring run passed.
“He makes the space for others to score,” the Liverpool fan argued in 2018 as the Brazilian forward’s goal return began to decline from the 27 in 54 to 16 in 48 games as the Reds pushed Man City to record league points total and lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
But, as the now-29-year-old has seen his strike-rate decline further, Kerr has moved from suggesting that Firmino was just too “unselfish in the false nine role” alongside noted goal-pinchers Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, to saying his “work-rate makes up for his lack of goals”, and, most embarrassingly, making the case that he’s “such a great lad in the dressing room he’s worth having in the team”.
Now, as the streaky striker’s 2020-21 tally of a single goal in 11 appearances has been smashed by the recently-signed Diogo Jota, Mr Kerr has been forced to accept that he may have been talking a load of old b*llocks all along.
“This Jota lad’s not bad, eh?” he tweeted as the former Wolves man gave Klopp’s side the lead in Bergamo against Atalanta on Tuesday evening.
But the casual facade slipped later in the evening on Facebook as tired and emotional fan posted a heartfelt commemoration to Firmino at 2.37am following Jota’s hat-trick performance.
Diogo Jota has now scored more goals (6) than Roberto Firmino (5) in 2020. ? https://t.co/nqpdAZgLdn
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 3, 2020
“Bobby out of the team. u will live on forever. Cant believe it. I wanna run to u. Really cant believe this.
“Havent been this broke up since the ghost of Shanks visited me the night after the Gerrard slip and told me it’d be ok.”
And now, in the build-up to Sunday’s blockbuster clash with Man City, the Scouse supporter says “Klopp must start Jota. what good’s a striker who doesn’t score goals?”, as if the previous three years never happened.
However, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed suggestions that Firmino’s role in the Reds’ starting XI could be under threat.
“Seriously? I think if you ask that question about Bobby you don’t know much about football,” he laughed, and laughed, and then laughed some more.
“Taking Firmino out of this team is like taking Wolfgang Rohde’s drumbeat out of Die Toten Hosen heavy metal music, hahahaha” and everyone else laughed though they didn’t get the reference.
“It doesn’t make sense.”
“Plus me and Bobby get a two-for-one on teeth whitening at the dentist every few weeks, I don’t want to lose that.”
The Brazilian could return to the Liverpool side on Sunday, which is said to have given John Stones some hope he might get a game too as Pep Guardiola sees a striker who can’t score as the perfect opportunity to build the confidence of a defender who can’t defend.
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