After a long string of poor results, Liverpool Football Club won a whole, entire football match on Wednesday against RB Leipzig to progress to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The Reds kept an elusive clean sheet, and even saw Diogo Jota put in another solid performance as he works his way back into shape.
Jota arrived on Merseyside over the summer. In the few months he was healthy and available, he enjoyed a rousing start to his Liverpool career. His injury was one of a cascading set of injuries and setbacks that caused the Reds to tumble down the Premier League table in the new year.
So it’s no surprise that fans rejoiced when they saw a fit Jota take to the pitch against Fulham and then again in Budapest on Wednesday.
When asked about what Jota’s return means to the team, Klopp admitted they missed him in his absence.
“He was a big miss, a big miss. I think the moment when he got injured he was in a really good moment, which always then makes the fact, which is already bad, that the player is injured even worse,” the manager said.
“What does he bring? His qualities. He can play up front in all three positions, he played all three positions for us and that is already really helpful. He can play them on a really high level, so he makes us stronger, which is really good.”
With Jota back and Firmino returning soon, our forward positions look good. Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips kept their second clean sheet while working together, which has provided a niggle of hope that perhaps we might be fighting through our defensive problems. This tentatively effective partnership also serves the dual purpose of allowing Fabinho to play in his preferred midfield position, which helps to strengthen an injury-stricken midfield that is without its captain.
One good victory doesn’t negate months of decline, but it’s always nice to be able to list good things happening to the team instead of a list of compounding bad things.