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Liverpool: Mo Salah out, Diogo Jota must start v Inter Milan

Liverpool: Mo Salah out, Diogo Jota must start v Inter Milan -Liverpool News

This is part of The Transfer Tavern’s Talking Tactics series, where we analyse two changes the manager should make in their upcoming fixture.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could have a bold call to make when he selects his starting line-up for the Reds’ Champions League round of 16 second leg lash with Inter Milan.

Inter Milan await

The Reds host the Serie A champions on Tuesday night, having prevailed 2-0 at the San Siro in the first leg last month.

While Liverpool clearly have one foot in the quarter-finals, the tie is far from dead and buried, with the Champions League always capable of producing dramatic, unpredictable nights – as Kopites know very well from recent years.

Klopp is sure to field a strong starting line-up at Anfield, but there is one big player he should consider leaving on the substitutes’ bench.

Give Salah a breather

While this may cause controversy with some, Mohamed Salah could be in line for a timely rest, having cut a jaded figure since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations a month ago.

Gary Lineker has hailed the 29-year-old as ‘wonderful‘, and the Egyptian is among the best footballers on the planet. However, he has too often found himself on the periphery of post-AFCON matches, failing to affect the Carabao Cup win over Chelsea and also cutting a frustrated figure against West Ham on Sunday, being substituted in the second half.

In fact, Salah has only scored once from open play in the Premier League since netting away to Chelsea on January 2nd – a well-taken strike at home to Norwich City – and those four relentless extra time periods and penalty shoot-outs in Cameroon may be taking their toll on him.

Affording Salah a breather tomorrow night will hopefully allow him to recharge his batteries ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton, who have either drawn or won their last three meetings with the Reds; and if the Egyptian is desperately needed against Inter, he can affect matters upon being sprung from the bench.

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Jota back in

Salah being left out would also allow Diogo Jota to get some much-needed minutes under his belt, as the 25-year-old continues to find his feet following an injury absence which stemmed from the away clash against Inter, when he had to be removed at half-time.

The £120,000-a-week Portuguese only played for 11 minutes at home to West Ham on Saturday and will surely be desperate to prove his worth on the big European stage, looking to add to his 17 goals this season.

With Luis Diaz on the left and Sadio Mane switching to the right, Jota could start down the middle, interchanging with his attacking colleagues and looking to put Inter to the sword, not allowing the Nerazzurri even a glimpse of hope in the tie.

Chances are that Salah will take to the pitch on Tuesday, but a rare night starting from the bench could end up being hugely beneficial as the weeks and months pass this season. It would doubly allow for Jota to get back into a rhythm in time for a crucial run-in to the campaign.

In other news, Fabrizio Romano has dropped a Liverpool transfer claim. Read more here.

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Article title: Liverpool: Mo Salah out, Diogo Jota must start v Inter Milan

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