During Assistant Coach Pepjin Ljinders’ pre-match press conference yesterday, he remarked favourably upon new signing Diogo Jota’s attacking abilities. Specifically, he called the J-man “a pressing monster”:
“What can I say? His technical level is on the same as our front three, he has so much future in the game and he will have a great pathway inside our club. He’s like a pressing monster, so he will fit in straight away. In Portugal, they all say what a great signing Liverpool made, because they know exactly how he is and what kind of potential he still has. He will fit into our style. We are happy with him, and all the things we heard are true. He is a very professional, passionate, dedicated, brave player.”
In a new piece making the rounds on Liverpool Twitter today, statistician and writer for The Athletic Michael Cox expanded upon Diogo’s pressing prowess, and highlighted a sneaky ability of the versatile attacker - he’s really really good at getting opponents sent off. Over his two seasons with Wolves, Jota has drawn five red cards across 934 minutes, which works out to roughly once every 10 games. (Cox points out that it should be six red cards, but you know... reffing.)
Do check out Cox’s piece for the full breakdown (he elaborates more on Jota creating chances and scoring from pressing situations, and his excellent 1-2s), but here’s a summary of the red-card incidents:
- Everton vs Wolves - Phil Jagielka mis-controls a pass, Jota presses, Jags lunges and denies clear goalscoring opportunity
- Newcastle vs Wolves - DeAndre Yedlin mis-controls a pass from Javier Manquillo (hey!), Jota presses, Yedlin Jagielkas Jota.
- Wolves vs Man City - Long-ball, Jota runs in behind defence, Ederson bundles him to the ground.
- Watford vs Wolves - Raul Jimenez wins an aerial duel with Christian Kabasele, Jota latches onto ball and is hauled down by Kabasele
- Bournemouth vs Wolves - Simon Francis mistimes a slide tackle on Jota for his first booking, then hauls Diogo from behind at the halfway line to get his second.
Deft with both feet, pacy, and an able presser... and now this? If Diogo Jota can solve Liverpool’s strange malaise with winning penalties, Liverpool will be able to play with a man advantage more often, which is kinda scary to think about. By the way, what is it about Liverpool Football Club that makes referees reluctant to give us penalties? Is it because we’re too good? Is that why Manchester United gets so many? Hopefully Diogo knows.