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Liverpool star talks of ‘dispute’ as Klopp juggles tough balancing act

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has said that the battle for game time in manager Jurgen Klopp’s front line is a “healthy” one.

Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have long enjoyed a harmonious relationship up top at Anfield. The trio reached 250 Reds goals between them in all competitions at the end of the club’s Premier League title-winning season.

However, Diogo Jota’s arrival has shaken up the pecking order. The Portuguese has a record of a goal every two games so far, with a lot of them the first or the winning goal in matches.

Furthermore, Jota has more often than not replaced Firmino in the front three when starting. As such, one pundit claimed earlier this month that Firmino could be the first of Liverpool’s established front three to leave.

Nevertheless, Firmino stamped his mark by netting a brace from the bench in Tuesday’s Champions League win over Porto. Jota, meanwhile, had several chances to score from the start but could not find the net.

According to Firmino, though, Liverpool still have harmony up top despite the shift in roles of late.

“I’m at peace. It’s a healthy dispute,” the Brazilian told TNT Sports Brazil.

“Everyone who enters there tries to do their best and help Liverpool’s team. Whoever is entering is doing the job and is playing very well.

“So we have to continue. All with the intention of helping the team in search of victory.”

What has not changed, though, is the form of Mane and Salah. The pair, who have shown more consistency in front of goal than Firmino, both netted against Porto.

Still, none of the four players in question played the full 90 minutes in Portugal. As a result, they will be ready to face Manchester City at Anfield in a crunch Premier League clash on Sunday.

The match is Liverpool‘s last before the international break, but Firmino has not made the latest Brazil squad.

Firmino targeting more Brazil caps

His lack of recent game time has not been helped by a hamstring problem and he has vowed to regain his place in Tite’s thinking.

“Yes, it’s always a pleasure, a pride to defend my country. And of course I want to be there always. I want to be in all call-ups,” Firmino said.

“And I try to be working at my team to be well and automatically get that chance. And I want to keep working so that next time the chance comes and I can be present at the next call.”

Leeds winger Raphinha has made the cut up front, alongside the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Vinicius Junior.

Nuno Espirito Santo in perilous position after Tottenham derby thumping by Arsenal

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