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Premier League | Gameweek 29
Apr 24, 2024 at 8pm UK
Goodison Park
Liverpool logo

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Liverpool suffer Merseyside derby blow as attacker picks up new injury

Liverpool suffer Merseyside derby blow as attacker picks up new injury
© Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reveals that Diogo Jota will miss Wednesday's Merseyside derby with Everton and the next two weeks with a hip injury.

Liverpool have been dealt a damaging fitness blow on the eve of Wednesday's Merseyside derby with Everton in the Premier League, as Jurgen Klopp revealed that one of his key attackers has sustained a fresh injury.

For the first time since damaging his knee in February's win over Brentford, Portuguese striker Diogo Jota was named in the starting lineup for the weekend's clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers man had already come off the bench in both legs of Liverpool's Europa League quarter-final clash with Atalanta BC, in addition to a cameo role in a 1-0 Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace.

Upon his return to the first XI, Jota vindicated Klopp's decision with the Reds' third goal of the game, after Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ryan Gravenberch had struck either side of a Timothy Castagne response.

Jota was taken off for Darwin Nunez with 74 minutes gone, and there was no mention of any post-game concerns for the 27-year-old, suggesting that he got through the fixture unscathed.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota is placed on a stretcher after sustaining an injury on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Jota to miss two weeks with hip injury

As a result, Jota was expected to be in contention to start at Goodison Park on Wednesday night, but speaking to reporters in his pre-game press conference, Klopp delivered the bad news that the Portugal international had picked up a new concern.

The attacker's latest issue is related to his hip, and Klopp has revealed that he is expected to miss the next two weeks, also ruling him out of clashes with West Ham United (April 27) and Tottenham Hotspur (May 5) before a potential comeback against Aston Villa on May 13.

When asked if there were any fresh injury concerns, Klopp replied: "Unfortunately, yes. Diogo scored the goal, felt a little bit and now we found out it's a little bit more. So he will be out for two weeks.

"I cannot really say a lot about it, to be honest. Before which game where he didn't start, he got a knock – normal challenge, then felt a little bit at the hip. That was then fine because we didn't start him, brought him on, that was alright.

"Then he started the last game, was obviously OK and then with the finish... it's a small one but we are late in the season, so obviously now it's not a great moment for each injury pretty much. It's not a big one. When I say two weeks, actually really it's pretty much nothing but enough to not be available."

How big a miss will Jota be?

During their recent streak of profligacy, Liverpool fans were crying out for an attacker of Jota's calibre to feature from the first whistle, but his lack of match fitness ultimately led Klopp to avoid the risk.

The Portugal international's start against Fulham was a breath of fresh air for the Reds, as he is statistically their most clinical finisher at the club, being the only attacker to out-perform his Expected Goals (xG) for 2023-24 ahead of Nunez, Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz.

Jota has averaged 0.86 goals per game from 0.52 xG over the last 365 days, and prior to the second leg with Atalanta, the 27-year-old boasted a big-chance conversion rate of 62.5%, in comparison to Nunez's paltry 19.4%, the worst in Europe's top-five leagues.

Thanks to his strike against Fulham at the weekend, Jota is now scoring at a rate of one goal for every 115 minutes of Premier League football excluding penalties - no other player with at least five non-spot kick goals this season has a better ratio.

As a result, the 27-year-old's new layoff is a truly significant blow to the Reds' hopes of a ruthless display on Wednesday, by which time they could have fallen three points below Arsenal at the top of the table.

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