No Premier League team has scored more goals this season than Liverpool. Indeed, Jurgen Klopp’s side have found the back of the net 35 times in just 12 fixtures with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah forming the most formidable frontline in the European game at this moment in time. With all the attacking talent at Anfield, it can be easy to overlook Diogo Jota.
However, the Portuguese international deserves more credit for being one of the most adaptable and effective forwards in the Premier League. In many ways, he embodies what makes Liverpool so successful in the Klopp era.
At the time of his arrival on Merseyside two summers ago, many believed Jota to be an underwhelming signing. While the Portuguese had been an influential figure during his time at Wolves, few expected that he would make an immediate impact. Most envisaged he would be a squad figure.
Of course, Diogo Jota has largely been a squad figure for Liverpool to date. Klopp still views the trio of Firmino, Mane and Salah as his strongest frontline and with good reason. However, Jota has quickly become one of Liverpool’s most important players considering the number of roles he is capable of playing in attack.
Jota gives Liverpool aerial threat. He is capable of beating a man and delivering a cross. He can play as a lone frontman in an orthodox manner or as a Firmino-lite who drops deep into midfield to create space in behind for teammates to exploit. He can also operate as one half of a front two alongside Firmino.
“He’s an exceptional player,” Klopp explained about Jota earlier in the season. “Really, really happy that we signed him. Honestly, he’s got a really strong personality, you cannot know about that before you meet the person. He’s really – even for his young age – a very mature man, that makes it really enjoyable to work with him.
“It’s not easy to improve us, but Diogo did definitely. Scored important goals, he is actually a player made for our style – pretty intense, technically good, really fast, good in the air, both feet really good. Diogo’s a very interesting package and I’m really happy that we saw that and we could realise the transfer.”
In the past, Liverpool have been perceived as weaker than Manchester City due to their shallower squad depth. While Pep Guardiola still has more options than Klopp in most areas of the pitch, Liverpool now have the depth to compete on all fronts. Diogo Jota and the many roles he plays is proof of this.
After the inconsistency of the 2020/21 campaign, there were doubts over Liverpool’s ability to stick with Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. Klopp’s side are still four points off the pace being set by Chelsea but their performances this season suggest they will stay the course.
The signing of Jota and the way he has been integrated so quickly at Anfield has protected Liverpool against injuries to any of his front three. If either of Firmino or Mane is sidelined, Jota can fill in. If Salah is ruled out for a spell, Klopp could shift his team into a 4-4-2 shape with Jota alongside Firmino.
As a team, Liverpool are a reflection of Klopp after six years under his stewardship and Diogo Jota embodies many of their best qualities. For another team, the Portuguese would be hailed as a defining talent. This hasn’t happened for Jota as a Liverpool player purely because there are so many of his type at Anfield right now, but this shouldn’t mask his quality.
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