In the midst of a four-match losing run, Andy Robertson and his Liverpool teammates certainly welcomed the sight of Diogo Jota back on the training pitch at the AXA Training Centre this week.
Jota, 24, made his long-awaited return to the first-team picture following a three-month lay-off with a knee injury.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has told the club’s official website that the Portuguese forward could be made available for the Premier League clash against Sheffield United on Sunday evening.
Klopp told the club’s official website: “Diogo trained now twice with the team, looks very good – very good. But [he] was out long term so we have to see what we can do with that. But in training he looks really promising.”
Robertson, too, was optimistic about the impact Jota’s return could have on the English champions during a barren period of results. The Scotland captain noted his return ‘brought a smile to everyone’s face’.
Speaking with Sky Sports, Robertson said: “In a really tough week for a few reasons, seeing Diogo back on the pitch brought a smile to everyone’s face. He’s looking really good in training, sharp. It’s good to have that option, and great to have him back involved in the squad.”
It’s easy to see why Jota’s return has lifted the Merseyside, too, given his relentless stretch of form prior to the injury. Jota has nine goals in just nine Liverpool starts since making the transition from Wolves last summer.
His impact off the bench has equally been a big miss for Klopp in recent weeks, to say the least.
Only two players have scored in the Premier League or Champions League as a substitute this season, after all. They are Mohamed Salah (three) and, of course, Jota (two).
Moreover, Jota is the only Liverpool player this season to impact the outcome of a match directly from the bench. He scored as a substitute in the 2-1 victory over West Ham.
With that said, only the Hammers have felt the effect of Liverpool’s bench in 25 PL matches this season – this just simply isn’t good enough for the reigning champions of England.
Liverpool get very little help from their bench, then, it would seem. Divock Origi, after all, has zero goals and zero assists in seven sub appearances this season.
If Liverpool are going to return to winning ways, they will certainly require an immediate added source of depth – the return of Jota certainly accomplishes this.