Diogo Jota makes history for Liverpool on night of more misery for Jurgen Klopp

If history was made at Anfield on Tuesday, then it hardly seemed fitting in a contest that, if it’s remembered at all, will be for the wrong reasons.

Diogo Jota was the player to write his name in the record books, with the landmark 10,00th goal in Liverpool ’s history, as they secured an almost embarrassed Champions League victory over Midtjylland to take control of their group.

Yet that was virtually the only highlight of an evening of more misery for boss Jurgen Klopp, who endured yet more defensive woes, after a worryingly under-par, lethargic display from his team.

This time it was Fabinho who limped out of the fray on the half hour, with what appeared another serious injury, a hamstring problem that could sideline him for several weeks.

It is a nightmare for the Reds manager, who now has just one fit senior centre half at the club…and even lost potential stand-in Jordan Henderson at half time, after he took a whack on his ankle in a physical confrontation with Midtjylland.

Diogo Jota scored a simple tap-in to record Liverpool's 10,000th goal
Diogo Jota scored a simple tap-in to record Liverpool’s 10,000th goal

At least £45m summer signing Jota provided some relief for underwhelming Liverpool, after an anaemic display as they singularly struggled to impose themselves on their Danish opponents.

He rounded off a fine move crafted by Trent Alexander-Arnold, and sub Mo Salah added a second with a stoppage time penalty.

Yet underwhelming hardly cuts it. Liverpool were desperately poor, and they could have been punished severely for their lack of intensity, as Midtjylland missed TWO glorious chances in the closing minutes.

Jurgen Klopp shows his appreciation to his forward as Jota is subbed off
Jurgen Klopp shows his appreciation to his forward as Jota is subbed off

The real misery though is that injury to Fabinho, which means they are down to Joe Gomez in central defence…and they have only one more centre half over the age of 19, with Nathaniel Phillips at 23 looking the next in line.

He has played just one game for the Reds though, with Fabinho’s 19-year-old replacement last night Rhys Williams making two starts, and 17-year-old Billy Koumetio not yet one.

If Fabinho has damaged his hamstring, Klopp would normally press Henderson into service in a defensive role, at least until Joel Matip returns, which could be a week or so away. But he too, departed the game early.

Mohamed Salah sealed Liverpool's win with an injury-time penalty
Mohamed Salah sealed Liverpool’s win with an injury-time penalty

He was replaced at half time after an x-rated challenge from visiting midfielder Cajuste, which saw Klopp confront the Midtjylland coach Brian Priske with visible anger and a little x-rated interlude of his own, complaining about several robust tackles.

It could have been even worse though. Visiting striker Anders Dreyer missed one chance in the first half as he lacked conviction when sent through, and Alisson saved well.

More embarrassingly though, was the final act of the game as Liverpool held on. First Cajuste shot fractions wide when well placed, and then a minute before Salah converted from the spot after his own dash through won it, Dreyer had only the keeper to beat again, but chipped inexplicably wide.

Liverpool had created little, but at least Jota’s history making goal was a classic. It would have been more fitting though, had Alexander-Arnold scored it, a local boy etching his name in club legend…as he did most of the work.

A crisp one-two with Xherdan Shaqiri saw him dash into the box, and he really could have shot himself, with a big gap at the near post, but he unselfishly pulled the ball back for the Portugal international, who accepted the gift with some glee offering some small relief for suffering Liverpool fans.


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