Arrived last year on the banks of the Mersey to play a complementary role, the Portuguese was invited in the first choices of Jürgen Klopp in Liverpool, which welcomes Porto this Wednesday (9 p.m.).
A humiliation. This is how Diogo Jota’s goal against Arsenal should be qualified last Saturday (4-0). Two fakes with two London slips to further destroy Arsenal’s hopes in the match. And further proof of the crazy talent of a 24-year-old Portuguese striker, who showed in the action an alloy of liveliness and composure, two examples of a complete technical palette.
And his exit from an injury twenty minutes later, due to a shock to the knee, had the merit of worrying his trainer. “We have to watch the development of the injury but I hope it’s nothing serious, Jürgen Klopp said after the meeting. His absence would be very detrimental. ” An exit which testifies to the dimension taken by the Portuguese in the head of the German technician, which made it pass in front of the number 9 Roberto Firmino in the hierarchy. And when it is not the Brazilian, it is Sadio Mané who pays the price for the skills of the Portuguese, who had been preferred – rightly (one goal and one assist) – during the demonstration on the lawn of rival Manchester United (5-0). Finally, there is only Mohamed Salah, stratospheric for several weeks, who is not threatened.
Head and legs
With his versatility, the former Wolverhampton striker can evolve in each of the three positions of the LFC attack, which is no exception to 4-3-3 under Klopp. Among the Wolves, where he played for three seasons, the modest size of the native of Porto (1.78 m) was especially speaking about his speed on the left wing. But since his arrival at the Reds (against 45 million euros in the summer of 2020), Jota regularly takes place in the axis, where he admires … a lethal quality of play.
«He’s an exceptional player, perfect for our style of play, noted Klopp on the eve of the first leg against Porto (5-1). He shows a lot of intensity, he’s good technically, very fast, good in the air but also comfortable with both feet.In short, the robot portrait of a complete attacker. Thus, Klopp uses him in the axis, as a false center-forward, half the time (24 matches in the axis, 13 on the left, 6 on the right), where he shows an unsuspected head game: nearly a third of his goals (6/19) for LFC were headed, when he had not scored any with Wolves.
An injury cut him off in his tracks
On March 27, in Serbia (2-2), he even shone in the exercise with a double header with Portugal. A constantly evolving player in search of learning. “He has a very strong personality, underlined Klopp, again in October. You can’t find out until you meet him. For his age, he’s very mature, it’s a treat to work with him. ” Because Jota likes to work for the team as much as to improve. “It’s impressive how he’s playing, that he’s become such an important Liverpool playerEnthusiastic club legend Fernando Torres, who had been able to share a preseason with him at Atlético Madrid.
A club where Jota will never have had his chance with the first team and against whom he took a resounding revenge by scoring a goal in early November (2-0). At Atlético, the Portuguese spent his time on loan, starting with Porto (2016-2017), his hometown, which he therefore finds this Wednesday evening at Anfield. Then loaned to Wolverhampton, he convinced Wolves to pay 14 million euros to secure his services before signing for Liverpool after three years of good and loyal service.
An overall linear rise barely started by a knee injury that took him away from the field for more than two months last season. Sign of his new status at Liverpool, his return to training in February had sparked a wave of enthusiasm after a series of poor results which will ultimately be detrimental at the end of the season. “It is very important to have him among us again, for several reasons.», Remarked his trainer on his return. And the latter will certainly count on him to find the heights.