Liverpool could be without six first-team stars for Watford clash after Diogo Jota injury

Liverpool: How big an impact has Jota made?

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could be missing six first-choice players for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Watford after Diogo Jota was sent home by Portugal with an injury problem. Jota is a doubt for Saturday’s visit to Vicarage Road after he was ruled out of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.

Jota joined up the Portugal squad for the international break but did not train with his team-mates due an ongoing muscle complaint which ruled him out of Saturday’s friendly win over Qatar.

Instead he completed his own recovery programme with Portugal physio Joao Brito, but has now been released by manager Fernando Santos after it became clear he would not be fit for the game against Luxembourg.

A statement from the Portuguese FA said: “Diogo Jota was dismissed by the National Selector, Fernando Santos, after being considered unavailable by the FPF Health and Performance Unit to face Luxembourg, in a meeting to be held this Tuesday.”

The 24-year-old will now be in a race to be fit for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off away to Watford – for which Klopp could be missing up to six regular starters.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold remains a doubt with the injury which kept him out of Liverpool’s – including the 2-2 draw against Manchester City in which stand-in right-back James Milner was given the runaround by Phil Foden.

Thiago Alcantara is another player who will be looking to prove his fitness having missed four matches with a calf injury.

And Liverpool could also be without Alisson and Fabinho, who are unlikely to come back from Brazil duty until after the early hours of Friday morning.

Striker Divock Origi is also a doubt due to illness, while 18-year-old midfielder Harvey Elliott is a long-term absentee after he suffered an ankle injury in the 3-0 win over Leeds United last month.

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The early end to Jota’s international break will allow Liverpool’s medical staff to assess his injury, with his international manager having previously stated he would be sent home if he couldn’t play against Luxembourg.

Santos had said: “If he cannot participate in the game, he goes to Liverpool because, in these matters, clubs want to have players.”

But if he is ruled out of Saturday’s game it will be a big blow to Klopp’s plans, with the striker having been in form recently.

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Jota has played in all seven of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season, starting all but one of them and scoring three goals in the process.

He also played in the opening Champions League games against AC Milan and Porto, with the Reds having recorded two wins from their first two group matches.

The former Wolves star has been linking up well with Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota, increasingly limiting Roberto Firmino to a role from the bench.

Firmino will likely be the man to benefit of Jota is not fit to face Watford, with the Brazilian striker having made just one start so far this season.

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