Diogo Jota confident Liverpool can sustain trophy challenge without absent stars


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The Reds were without the likes of Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai at the weekend.

Diogo Jota is confident Premier League leaders Liverpool can sustain their quest for silverware in the absence of a host of star names following his second-half brace at Bournemouth.

The Reds set aside being without Mohamed Salah, who is due to return to Merseyside for treatment on a muscle injury suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, to move five points clear at the top thanks to a thumping 4-0 win.

Manager Jurgen Klopp was also missing defenders Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip and midfielders Dominik Szoboszlai, Thiago Alcantara and Wataru Endo at Vitality Stadium.

Jota, whose quickfire strikes on the south coast were sandwiched between Darwin Nunez’s double, told Sky Sports: “It’s part of the job, we know we have a few injuries, players going away for national teams. It’s hard.

“We survived December; January is coming thick and fast from now on and we all need to be ready. I think we have the players and the quality to keep winning games.

“Of course we have world-class players – when we have them it’s easier.

“But when we don’t have them, that’s why we are Liverpool because we have good players and we kind of replace them and try to give our best and share the cost of the games between us and keep going.”

Liverpool initially struggled to create chances in their first league game this season without top scorer Salah before Nunez’s 49th-minute finish paved the way to fully capitalise on a weekend off for second-placed Manchester City.

The Reds move on to their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Fulham on Wednesday evening holding a 2-1 lead before completing the month by hosting Norwich in the FA Cup and Chelsea in the league.

While goal-scorers Nunez and Jota grabbed the headlines in Dorset, Alexis Mac Allister played an instrumental role.

The Argentina World Cup winner, who was sent off on his Anfield debut in a 3-1 victory over the Cherries in August – a decision which was later overturned, was singled out for his contribution by his manager.

“Absolutely exceptional performance, I have to say,” Klopp said of former Brighton midfielder Mac Allister.

“I’m so happy for us obviously but for him as well.

“He’s a really good footballer, let me say it like that. And he did defensively the job and offensively he is super important anyway for us.”

Bournemouth’s defeat was a second in succession after taking 19 points from the previous 21 available on the back of a 6-1 drubbing at Manchester City.

The 12th-placed Cherries turn their attention to Thursday evening’s FA Cup clash against Swansea, with head coach Andoni Iraola seeking a reaction from his players.

“We’ll see – we have another game, a different competition,” said the Spaniard.

“We know against this top, top level of opposition we have to be at our best and then have moments of some inspiration to finish things to make the final play and we didn’t find it.”


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