Diogo Jota’s Impact at Liverpool – Cementing His Liverpool Legacy
Diogo Jota’s Liverpool career has unquestionably been a successful one, but can he become a true Reds great with his performances until May? If a remake of Jaws was made today, Jota would play the shark. He is an ice-cold killer.
The Portuguese’s time at Liverpool has been largely positive since he traded Wolves for Anfield back in 2020, but there has often been a feeling that he isn’t a guaranteed starter. That is highlighted by the fact that only 86 starts have come his way in three-and-a-half years, with 49 appearances coming from the substitutes’ bench. A tally of 52 goals in that time is a superb return.
Competition and Challenges
Jota often had Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to usurp early on in his Liverpool career, while in more recent times, the competition provided by the likes of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo has been strong. Injuries have stunted the 27-year-old’s progress more often than he would have hoped, too, with lengthy layoffs frustratingly keeping him out of the action for large periods.
Since returning from his latest injury blow, Jota has looked like a player with the bit between his teeth – someone hellbent on playing a huge role in a potentially legendary season for Liverpool. From the moment he came on at Burnley on Boxing Day, inevitably scoring in no time at all, the Portugal international has been magnificent, chipping in with consistent end product and standing tall while question marks have surrounded the form of others.
Jota’s Versatility and Skill
Jota’s three goal contributions at Bournemouth on Sunday further proved that this is a footballer in a great place – one flourishing as a main man in the absence of Salah, and who is the best finisher at the club. Not only did he take both goals with a combination of aplomb and ruthlessness, but his first-time pass to Nunez for the opener at the Vitality Stadium was a great piece of quick thinking, showing that he is so much more than the poacher some can paint him as. Add in a great work ethic, bags of tactical intelligence and a nasty edge to his game, and Jota is a formidable footballer.
🇵🇹 Diogo Jota has been so clinical for #LFC this season.
He’s averaging a goal contribution every 78 minutes in all competitions.
No Premier League player has averaged a better minutes per non-penalty goal contribution in all competitions this season.
Top class. … pic.twitter.com/qSwFHqkPwI
— AnfieldIndex (@AnfieldIndex) January 21, 2024
Looking Ahead: Jota’s Potential Legacy
While he still hopefully has many years ahead of him at Liverpool, these coming months do feel as if they are tailor-made for Jota to truly announce him as an attacking great for the Reds, assuming he can avoid the dreaded injury curse. Matches are coming thick and fast across four different competitions, and his nervelessness in front of goal could be so key in crunch moments.
Jota does feel as though he is now receiving the love he hasn’t always got from the wider footballing public – Jamie Carragher has even questioned if he is a better finisher than Robbie Fowler, which may be going too far – and some major contributions between now and May can elevate him to another level. He may not be as good as Salah, as quick as Diaz, as all-action as Nunez or as elegant as Gakpo, but right now, he feels about as likely as anyone to be the difference-maker for Liverpool ahead of a massive period in Klopp’s tenure.