Jurgen Klopp admits Diogo Jota exceeds even Liverpool’s expectations by highlighting the difference the Portuguese striker is making for his team.
Jota moved up to 20 goals for the season for the first time in his career as he headed in Joe Gomez’s cross for the opener in the 2-0 Premier League win over Watford at Anfield on Saturday.
His tally of 14 top strikes is only surpassed by team-mate Mohamed Salah, with half of his total having been Liverpool’s first goal in a game.
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And Klopp believes Jota – who started on the left flank at the weekend but has steadily drifted into central positions – has more than proven his worth since his £45m move from Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 2020.
“It has always been clear that Diogo is not a pure winger, Diogo is a striker who can play on the wing and defend on the wing,” the Liverpool manager said. “Both wings, thank goodness. He played for us in all three positions up front and always did very well.
“He’s that guy. It was for sure always in him, I’ve said that many times, at Wolves he had a different job and he did that job so well that we thought, we And since he came in he has a bit to do with his age, he’s been growing bit by bit into the role of a world-class striker and he’s been delivering for Portugal pretty consistently, which is a tough job to do with all the attacking talent they have, so he’s actually the player we thought he would be and also a bit better.”
Klopp added of Saturday’s game: “In a game like this it’s really important that the boys play the game and not the position. That means you have to find yourself in these kinds of situations.
“Where we struggle sometimes is being too static. That (first goal) was a very fluid situation where Diogo was high, a great cross and then if there’s no one there, it is just a cross with no result. A great goal.”