Diogo Jota & Roberto Firmino “felt the difference” after injury comebacks

Jurgen Klopp says Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino both “felt the difference” between training and matches after returning from injuries against Everton.

Jota, who had been sidelined since sustaining a serious hamstring injury against Man City last October, was first to be introduced at Anfield on Monday, replacing Darwin Nunez after 70 minutes.

Firmino also went on to make his first appearance of the year off the bench, having picked up a calf injury shortly before the Reds returned to action after the World Cup.

And speaking after the game, Klopp said the duo will both have benefited from being reintroduced to match action.

“You could see for Diogo and Bobby that it’s the early stages, but getting them minutes is important,” the Liverpool boss told Viaplay Norway.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 13, 2023: Liverpool's Diogo Jota is given instructions by assistant manager Peter Krawietz during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 242nd Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“They both felt the difference between training and the game. That’s good. We have options back and that’s what we need.”

On a night that left many talking about the standout performance of 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic, Klopp was keen to spread the praise across his team.

He singled out Jordan Henderson as “a one-man pressing machine” against the Toffees, and was also impressed with Fabinho, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

“I’m 100 percent sure everyone will speak about Stefan and he played a super game, but Hendo was a one-man pressing machine.

“The game he played was exceptional, it was a real skippers performance. Fabinho back in his position was massively helpful for us.

“You could see with the first action of Joel Matip that he’s not full of confidence, but he fought himself back into the game and played a really good performance.

Joe Gomez had a similar situation in the second half. The first ball slipped over his foot, but that’s not a problem. These things can happen, it’s about how you react, and both reacted brilliantly.

“Ali was the safe house behind. They were all good. It was a good performance against a team who is really difficult to play against.”