If Liverpool are to make any additions to their squad this month, there is one player whose imminent arrival will benefit the Reds greater than any player currently listed on the transfer market: Diogo Jota.
There is no doubt at present, Liverpool are crying out for the Portuguese international’s creativity in front of goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s ability to rotate between his pedigreed front-three hasn’t been an option with Jota still sidelined by the knee injury he suffered on December 9 against FC Midtjylland.
Forwards are suffering
And as a result, Liverpool’s goalscoring exploits have dried up in recent weeks following disappointing results against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton.
Just one goal in three games paints a pretty miserable picture. Even worse, was Liverpool’s efforts to clock up just seven shots on target during 270 minutes of league action.
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Despite this, Liverpool remarkably, are still the Premier League’s top-scorers with 37 goals in 17 games. Mohamed Salah leads the Golden Boot race, too, with 13 goals.
Since thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0 on December 19, Liverpool have clocked up just two points and have scored just one goal. Such a poor return has seen the Reds surrender top-spot to Manchester United, whom they face at Anfield on Sunday.
Having accumulated 97 and 99 points in back-to-back seasons, Liverpool’s standards have slipped. Much of that has been due to the absence of Jota.
The £45 million signing from Wolves alongside Thiago Alcantara, were brought in to make Klopp’s Reds much more unpredictable for opponents.
Both players were meant to ease the creative burden on the front-three as well as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. However, in their absence, teams have been able to frustrate Liverpool far too easiliy.
Jota can make all the difference
Teams parking the bus against Liverpool isn’t uncommon either. The major difference is that Klopp and his team were previously lauded for always conjuring a way to win no matter the challenge present to them.
So, why has there been such a slip-up in recent weeks?
Well, a significant number of Liverpool’s 37 league goals this season need to be put into perspective. For one, seven of those goals occurred against Crystal Palace and four against Leeds United and Wolves. That is 41 per cent of the total in just three matches.
Liverpool, then, once in front are adept at controlling matches and seeing out results. The absence, however, of key players such as Jota has had a sizeable impact of the team’s recent progress.
The 24-year-old forward had previously been a useful option to Klopp particularly when the team were playing poorly. His match-winning goals against West Ham and Sheffield United prove as such.
So, the main question is when can we expect to see Jota return?
Well, hopefully very soon, according to reports from The ECHO.
Klopp’s most recent update last week confirmed the club were still taking sensible precautionary measures after the manager confirmed Jota was still in a knee brace.
“It will still take time,” said Klopp. “And he is a few weeks away from team training.
“There is nothing really to say, it takes time. There was no surgery needed, which was good, but it was a proper injury.
“It is not a little knock or something; no, no, and it will still take time. There is no real time frame there.”
Hopefully, an idea of his return date will be a little more transparent once the boss greets the media during his press conference on Friday afternoon.
Liverpool fans will certainly hope there is positive news.
Out of all the January additions Liverpool have been touted with in recent weeks none will bare as much significance as the desperately welcomed return of Jota.