For Liverpool, the return of Diogo Jota cannot come soon enough. The Reds’ last four matches have proved as such – and supporters certainly agree.
The Portuguese international is still nursing a knee injury but could return this month, according to reports. This comes from The Athletic. They claim Jota could be back before the end of January.
In his absence, Liverpool have won just two of their last six league matches.
Against Aston Villa last night, Liverpool’s issues were laid bare again. For an hour, it underlined everything that has gone wrong at the club.
Luckily, Liverpool had a solution to get on the right side of an overdue victory, a first in four matches. The key to such was the introduction of Thiago Alacantara.
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The £20 million signing from Bayern Munich provided the necessary quality to get a result. Indeed, it wasn’t against the most stellar of opposition. Still, the impact of Thiago pointed towards something broader. It highlighted why he will be so important in the second half of the season.
Jota will have a similar influence, then. He has nine goals to his name this season, after all.
We are still yet to see the combination of two of Liverpool’s most recent summer signings. Let’s hope that is to change in the coming weeks.
With Fabinho likely to resume the remainder of the season in defence, the return of Jota poses an exciting system Klopp could look to implement.
We’ve seen it before, after all, against Manchester City most recently. Indeed, we are referring to the 4-2-3-1 system the Liverpool boss has utilised on several occasions this term.
At full strength, it would involve a defensive quartet held together by Joel Matip and Fabinho at the heart of the base with Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold deployed at full-back. Of course, Alisson Becker is first-choice between the sticks.
Placed in front of the defence, Thiago and Jordan Henderson would provide Liverpool an exciting double pivot in midfield. Two of the best in the business will enable Klopp to utilise four attacking player together.
As a result, it could see Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Jota in the same XI for the first time since November 8.
Such an attacking system was echoed on Twitter, as a number of Liverpool supporters planned ahead to the return of Jota.
Here are a selection of responses looking ahead of what is still to come from two of Liverpool’s summer signings this season.