Diogo Jota grabbed his first Liverpool goal in the 3-1 win over Arsenal on Monday. The most promising thing, however, was how familiar he looked.
What better way to mark your Premier League debut for Liverpool than with a goal? Jota found the back of the net late on to kill the game, picking up Liverpool’s third.
It’s a goal that immediately eases any pressure on him after his £41m move from Wolves. But as exciting as the goal was, it wasn’t the most exciting takeaway from the game.
Jota scored one against Arsenal but he could have had three or four. His movement and running was fantastic in how direct it was. Jota always want to get to goal – and that’s what Liverpool like.
The success at Liverpool is built on the front-three. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, in particular, are pacy, direct wingers who try to run at goal first and foremost.
This performance suggests they’ve found a similar player in Jota. He replaced Mane in the game, after all, and continued the no.10s movements after he came on.
That’s exactly what Liverpool need from the bench this season. It’s a compact schedule after the late start and players will need resting. But Liverpool struggle to play the same way without either Salah or Mane in the team – the threat from both sides is a huge part of their attack.
Jota, however, can offer the same style. That’s a huge bonus for this season and, potentially, further than that.
Salah and Mane are both 28 – they’re falling out of their prime soon. Thus Liverpool do need to replace the duo in the next few years.
Jota, if he can play the same style, is primed to take Mane’s place on the left. He’ll be entering his prime as Mane leaves his, after all, and can spend the next year or two getting used to Liverpool.
Then, once the Reds are ready to move on, Jota can hopefully take his place in the next great Liverpool side.