As of this weekend, Diogo Jota has scored 33 goals in a total of 70 appearances for Liverpool, 20 of which have been in this season alone. It’s easy to see why he’s a fan favourite, and a Klopp favourite: the player has come through with goals for Liverpool even when his performances haven’t been particularly good, most recently in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Nottingham Forest. For the boss, Jota has shown that he’s a versatile player and is improving by the day.
“It was always clear that Diogo is not a pure winger; Diogo is a striker who can defend the wing and play on the wing – both wings,” Klopp said after this weekend’s victory against Watford. “Thank God he played for us all three positions up front and always did really well. Today, in a game like this, it is really important that the boys play the game and not the position. That means you have to end up in these kind of situations where we struggle sometimes if we are a bit too static. This was a very fluid situation where Joey was high, got the ball, a great cross, but then if there is nobody [there] it is still the same cross with no outcome. It was a great goal, absolutely.”
“He is that guy and it was, for sure, always in him, but I’ve said now a couple of times, at Wolves he had a different job and he did that job that good that we thought, ‘We want him.’ Since he has come in, he has improved a lot. That is a little bit up to his age, he is growing into the top, world-class striker role step by step.
“He is delivering for Portugal pretty consistently, which is a difficult job to do there with all the offensive talent they have. So, actually, he is the player we thought he will be – and even a little bit better.”