Unlike Liverpool’s midfield - which looks as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s famed cupboard - the forward line looks about as full as it gets. While it hasn’t quite hit the heights of the halcyon days of Klopp’s feared trio of Mane, Firmino, and Salah, the gaffer isn’t hurting for options.
To be sure, the logjam is tilted to the left, with each of Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, and Darwin Nunez able to play on the left. The latter three are also capable of manning the center of the pitch, though with Gakpo playing more closely to a a false-nine and each of Darwin and Diogo looking more like a typical 9/center-forward. The question heading into this season is which combination of these players Klopp will opt to use as his first choice.
Most folks might find themselves worried about this type of crowding in their team; the good kind of headache is still, after all, a headache. But if you were to ask Diogo Jota directly what he felt about all of the competition, he’d seem to be pitched towards the opposite of that and seems to find it useful.
In an interview for the official site fresh off of scoring a goal in Liverpool’s final pre-season tune up, the Portuguese forward was asked how he felt about the crowd in the attack:
“I think inside competition is always good, [you] push yourself to the limit and it’s good for us because we have the options. We will have loads of games and will need everyone, so it’s very helpful that we can be like that.”
We talk often about the physical rigors of being an elite athlete but I often think about moments like this, where someone like Diogo might have been brought on a few windows back and, despite being relatively successful, having pundits and fans alike wishing or urging the club to bring in more reinforcements. I don’t know what Diogo’s really going through, but at least publicly, he’s been going about it in a manner befitting of a mentality monster.