“Though the signing of Thiago is regarded as a masterstroke for Liverpool, the signing of Diogo Jota did not satisfy many. The critics believed that the transfer was overpriced and many have considered a fate like that of Naby Keita for him. Jota was yet to make his Red debut, but when he did take the pitch; the critics were left to eat their own words. He has accumulated seven goals in ten games!”
The world football has witnessed some wonderful trios upfront over the years. Once upon a time: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar formed the famous MSN in Barcelona to leave the world crazy about them. Their magnificent understanding and ability to outclass the opposition defenders earned them fans and followers alongside haters from the arch-rivals.
Real Madrid unleashed the famous BBC at Santiago Bernabeu: Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo started to script one of the most fantastic phases in the history of the Royal Whites!
There were hardly any competent trios back in that time to challenge the might of MSN and BBC in Europe.
Back in Anfield, things were changing.
Jurgen Klopp came from Borussia Dortmund to manage the Reds and he invested faith in some less popular but hard-working players like Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane. Then all of a sudden, Philippe Coutinho left the club, which gave him so much and hampered the balance of the Reds. Still, Klopp’s faith in Mane, Firmino, and Salah persisted and it paid off – runner-up in the Champions League of 2017-18, Champions in the following season, and in the last season, Liverpool ended the 30-year wait for the Premier League title.
Klopp created a team, which play together and enjoy – his front three became the best in the world. At times, few people always felt, Mane, Salah, and Firmino are much better than the BBC and MSN because of their hard-working nature as hard work always beats the best of talents.
But all good things come to an end. Not every season the combination of Mane, Salah, and Firmino or others would fire and there would be signs of decay. Klopp knows this very well and thus, he started searching for backups.
Klopp signs the boy from Portugal
Liverpool didn’t make any big signings last term and yet managed to win the Premier League with 99 points, 18 clear of 2nd placed Manchester City. But, Klopp has finally decided to make some big money moves this summer. Liverpool signed last term Treble winning midfielder Thiago for £30m and Portuguese winger Diogo Jota from Wolves for £44.7m in quick succession.
Though the signing of Thiago is regarded as a masterstroke for Liverpool, the signing of Diogo Jota did not satisfy many. The critics believed that the transfer was overpriced and many have considered a fate like that of Naby Keita for him.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 19, 2020
People quickly come to a conclusion about players who have not established themselves yet!
Rather than remaining patient about the player, they write him off.
Jota was yet to make his Red debut, but when he did take the pitch; the critics were left to eat their own words.
He has accumulated seven goals in ten games!
The early days
Born in Massarelos, Porto on December 4, 1986, Jota joined F.C. Paços de Ferreira’s youth setup in 2013, from Gondomar SC. He was promoted to the main squad at the start of the 2014–15 season and made his senior debut in October 2014 by starting in a 4–0 home win against Atletico S.C. for the Taça de Portugal.
Jota first appeared in the Primeira Liga in February 2015, coming on as a late substitute for Diogo Rosado in a 2–2 home draw against Vitoria de Guimaraes. He scored his first goal in the competition on 17 May, netting a brace in a 3–2 home success over Academica de Coimbra and becoming the youngest player to score for the club in the top tier in the process.
In May 2015, Jota signed a new five-year deal with Pacos, keeping him tied up until 2020. In the first game of the campaign, a 1–0 win over Academica at the Estadio da Mata Real on 17 August, he was sent off at the end for pushing Hugo Seco; Ricardo Nascimento was also sent off for retaliating on his teammate’s behalf.
In 2016, Jota agreed to a five-year contract with Atletico Madrid. But, a few weeks later, however, he returned to his country and joined FC Porto on a one-year loan.
Jota scored a first-half hat-trick in a 4–0 away victory against C.D. Nacional.
The days with the Wolves
In 2017, he moved Wolverhampton Wanderers on a season-long loan.
In 2018, it was announced that a permanent deal with Jota had been agreed for a reported €14 million, being made effective on 1 July.
He scored a career-best 17 league goals in his first year, ranking fifth in the league top scorer charts, as Wolves achieved promotion to the Premier League as champions; due to English Football League regulations, he wore his legal surname on his jersey in the Championship but was able to change it to “Diogo J” after the feat.
Jota made his debut in the English top division on 11 August 2018, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–2 home draw against Everton, and in 2019, in a thrilling encounter against Leicester City; Jota smashed a hat-trick. It was his last-minute winner against Leicester that completed the first Premier League hat-trick ever scored by a Wolves player.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) November 3, 2020
Jota added two more in the Europa League last season, his partnership with Jimenez central to so many magical moments. Jota’s sheer sense of adventure, his direct running, his enthusiasm, will always be cherished in Wolves.
Why Liverpool signed Jota?
It was time to move to a bigger club and Klopp came forward to sign Jota!
Sky Sports stated, “While this might be viewed from the outside as Liverpool poaching one of the Wolves’ best players, the transfer comes just as Jota’s progress had stalled. Having lost his place in the team following a poor run of form, there were doubts about his importance to the project going forward.”
“Jota’s performances since the restart had not been good. He has long been a streaky player, capable of looking unplayable at times, hence those hat-tricks. But then there would be the long spells in which he did not threaten. Twice last season he scored five goals in two games. On five separate occasions, he made five consecutive appearances without scoring.”
“The most recent dip came at an unfortunate time – left out of the line-up for the Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla. It was no great shock when he started the new season as an unused substitute in Wolves’ 2-0 win over Sheffield United on the opening weekend.”
“Jota was perhaps the fifth choice for three forward places even before Wolves’ record signing of Fabio Silva. Now he finds himself catapulted into a new world – the most expensive attacking acquisition ever made by the reigning Premier League and world champions.”
But still, Klopp put his faith in Jota – but why?
Firstly, Jota is 23 years old and that puts him right in the sweet spot for a Liverpool signing. In a sense, the club broke its own rules to bring in Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich. Recruiting players in that younger age bracket have been crucial to their success.
Diogo Jota. First Liverpool hat-trick.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 3, 2020
Secondly, Jota is termed as a pressing monster and fits well with Klopp’s Gegenpressing! While playing up front, he pressurizes the defenders and uses the space behind them or creates the space for the strikers to exploit the opportunities.
Thirdly, Jota is a real threat inside the box and Klopp loves that. He has traded his luck in both the flanks and certainly the left flank has been the best position for him. However, he plays on a good level when put up in the front centrally. He has been used as a lone striker and a second striker many times and he has fulfilled the roles brilliantly.
Fourthly, he may not be very strong and fast but his ball control keeps the ball in his feet. With excellent ball control and a bunch of eye glittering skills up his pocket, Jota is a nightmare for central defenders when he cuts in.
Fifthly, Jota can drop deep and establish the link between the midfield and forward – a similar role Bobby has been playing for the Reds for a brief period. Playing in the central zone, he could be a very effective central attacking midfielder lying just behind the striker or drop a tad deeper and become the playmaker.
Finally, Jota can score goals and knows how to score because of his brilliant positional sense.
The form of Firmino is a worry for Klopp and the way Jota is playing; one can only say that Klopp has made the right call by signing Jota, who could be the ideal back up of Firmino at this moment.