When Diogo Jota got subbed onto the pitch against Arsenal, playing alongside Liverpool mainstay Roberto Firmino, the team’s performance switched into overdrive. It seems natural, then, that people might want to see the two talented attackers starting together as half of a strong and aggressive front four.
Klopp confirmed nothing at his press conference in the Spanish capital on Monday, but he hinted so hard that he might as well have winked.
“You have to wait and see, but it looked good hey? It looked really good,” Klopp said in reference to the performance against Arsenal.
For his part, Diogo Jota feels thrilled to have jumped back into the team with the same high level of performance he had before his injury.
“For a player, injury is the worst [thing] that can happen,” he said. “Seeing the team on TV and you can’t do anything to help is frustrating. I needed to focus on my recovery and to be back on the pitch and do what I have been doing – which is to help, to do my best and hopefully to score goals and keep doing that.
“Obviously I am scoring a good amount of goals. That’s what I want to do; help the team in the rest of the season. I don’t mind if I don’t score as long as the team wins.”
As for the game on Tuesday, Jota understands the challenge posed by going up against the club with a baker’s dozen European trophies to their name.
“It will take a lot - a lot of effort, mainly. We will probably need to run a lot, to fight a lot, because of the way they play. They are the team with the most titles in this competition, they are used to the knockout stages and we are going to need to be at our best if we want to get a result tomorrow.”
This tough game couldn’t have come at a better time. The Reds have now won three matches and kept three clean sheets in a row. The centre-back partnership of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak has been Liverpool’s most effective duo since the season-ending injuries of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
They’re inching closer to salvaging something from this strange and difficult season. If they can put in a strong showing in Europe and possibly bring a trophy back to Merseyside, it would be an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes for this team that has struggled with injuries and poor performances through the winter.