Jota ruled out of World Cup


Liverpool and Portugal attacker Diogo Jota will miss the 2022 World Cup with a calf injury, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.

The 25-year-old went down in the final few seconds of Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Manchester City and had to be stretchered off the field.

There were initial fears that Jota’s injury would be serious enough to keep him out of the World Cup in Qatar, and Klopp has now confirmed the worst.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Wednesday’s clash with West Ham United, the Liverpool boss revealed that the attacker’s injury was “pretty serious” and he would not be able to represent the Selecao next month.

“Not good news about Diogo. He will miss the World Cup, it’s a pretty serious calf muscle injury. Very sad news for the boy, and for us and Portugal,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.

“The first diagnosis was clear and it’s very sad news for us. We have to look at [player welfare], we always do and if we can consider things lineup-wise, we will. It’s an intense period, we’re used to it but full energy is required again against West Ham.”

When asked for a timeframe on Jota’s recovery, Klopp added that the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers man would take “months” to get back to full fitness, although he will not need to undergo surgery.

“It’s a big impact. Now we can say that because he will be out for a long time, we talk about months. We will see, I don’t want to put a number on it. It will be long,” Klopp added.

“I always hope for positive developments in rehab. He’s surprisingly okay so far, he’s a smart boy and he knew it when we carried him off. At that moment he knew it was a serious one and impactful on his World Cup dreams.”

Jota summer was disrupted by a recurrence of a hamstring injury he suffered while on international duty with Portugal, forcing him to miss Liverpool’s Community Shield win over Man City and their first five Premier League fixtures of the season.

The 25-year-old has since come up with five assists in eight appearances during the 2022-23 season, taking his total for Liverpool to 34 goals and 14 assists in 93 matches since joining in 2020.

Jota’s long-term injury is yet another blow in an injury-hit season for Liverpool, who are also without Luis Diaz until after the World Cup as the Colombian attacker nurses a knee injury.

Arthur, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip are all currently out of contention as well, with Konate picking up a fresh muscular problem before Sunday’s game.

Klopp added that the centre-back’s issue would probably keep him sidelined for about 10 days, while Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain have both played some part in team training recently.

Jota lined up from the first whistle alongside Mohamed Salah, Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino against Man City, and Fabio Carvalho could now take advantage of his teammates’ absences on the left-hand side, with Diaz unlikely to return before Boxing Day.

Liverpool sit eighth in the Premier League table ahead of the visit of West Ham, but they could rise as high as fifth with a win if results go their way in the midweek round of fixtures.