Jamie Carragher's Sadio Mane warning suggests Diogo Jota is losing Liverpool 'fight'
The January signing of Luis Diaz has added new competition to Jurgen Klopp's forward options, with the Colombian starring since his arrival. Diaz has usually taken up the left wing role, with Mohamed Salah the clear starter on the right.
That leaves Jota and Sadio Mane battling to be selected through the middle, a fight the Senegal international has increasingly won in recent weeks. Jota was handed an opportunity to start on Tuesday when Liverpool travelled to Aston Villa.
Salah was rested, with Diaz shifting to the right, Mane selected through the middle and Jota played on the left. Diaz created the goal that Mane scored to put the Reds ahead, while Jota failed to impress.
And with Mane possessing the ability to switch positions with ease, it leaves Jota with a problem going forward. That is a problem that Carragher picked up on after the win over Villa as he hailed Mane's versatility.
"You'd always find a place in the front three for him [Mane]. When Diaz came in and he started so well, he wants to play on the left which is Mane's position. Salah's always going to play on the right, then he's in a fight with Jota, who's a scoring sensation since he's come to Liverpool," he told Sky Sports.
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"I wouldn't say he's sacrificed himself but he initially came in on the right wing, then Salah came in and he moved to the left. He's then fantastic on the left, Diaz came in on the left and he moved to centre-forward.
"He's always moving for someone else, but his performances don't drop. He's still producing. The others are great players, but to ask those players in another position in the front three, they probably wouldn't be at their best. But it doesn't seem to matter where he plays in the front three it's never a problem."
Carragher's analysis was proven correct by Jota's performance against Villa, with the Portugal international struggling out wide. He had just two shots in total, failed to complete a dribble and had a pass completion rate of just 72 per cent.
Mane and Diaz meanwhile drove Liverpool to a win that keeps their faint hopes of overtaking Manchester City alive. While Salah has struggled recently, the Egyptian's performances this season makes him a certain starter.
Jota's failure to take his chance against Villa, couple with Carragher's warning about Mane, leaves the 25-year-old facing a challenging end to the season. His goal drought of five top-flight games clearly drops him down the pecking order at Anfield, losing his fight to feature for Klopp's side.
That could be key as the campaign enters its final weeks, with Liverpool having the FA Cup and Champions League finals ahead of them. If Jota is to start either of those huge games, he needs to begin taking his chances, whichever position he is selected in.