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Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish has backed Roberto Firmino to continue to be a key player at Anfield.

The Brazilian’s starting spot in the Reds lineup has come under scrutiny following the impact summer signing Diogo Jota has made since his £41million switch from Wolves.

The Portugal international has shone in the early part of his Kop career, scoring seven goals in his first 11 appearances for the club – including a hat-trick in the Champions League thrashing of Atalanta.

Jota, 23, is averaging a goal every 84 minutes thus far.

In stark contrast however, Firmino has scored just once in 12 games this term, and it was he who made way for Jota in Bergamo.

Both started in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City prior to the international break, and both are in line to start against table-topping Leicester on Sunday, with Mohamed Salah missing after testing positive for coronavirus.

Jota has made an impressive start
(Image: Getty Images)

When the Egyptian returns, questions will duly follow about whether Jota or Firmino remains in Jurgen Klopp’s preferred lineup – with the German having emphatically defended his No.9 against recent criticism.

Dalglish insists that it is a major plus for the Reds that Jota has made such a strong start, but that it doesn’t make Firmino any less important.

Firmino continues to be vital, says Dalglish
(Image: Peter Byrne/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

"For Diogo to come in and score as freely as he has done and to make such an impact, not always having played the full game, will do him a world of good,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

"The belief he'll have in himself and the confidence supporters will have in him too.

"It's important when someone comes in and settles straight away, for the player and the club, just look at the contribution he has made.

"I'm not particularly concerned about Firmino. Bobby [Firmino] is a great player with a great touch and gets through an awful lot of work.

"He compliments Mo [Salah] and Sadio [Mane] when the three of them play together, and obviously the four of them played together at City and were really good together.

"Bobby is a really important player for Liverpool."

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