Pep Lijnders has lauded the ‘pure quality’ of summer-signing Diogo Jota, who possesses an instinctive attacking skill that is ‘really difficult’ to coach.
The Liverpool assistant manager touched on the ‘lethal combination’ of skills that have contributed to an effortless transition from Molineux to Anfield.
Jota, 24, has clocked up 10 goals under Jurgen Klopp this term, despite a long-term knee injury that ruled him out for three months.
Having returned to action for Liverpool at the beginning of March, Lijnders hailed the technical quality of Jota, which is already on the same level of the club’s pedigreed front-three, according to the 38-year-old coach.
Lijnders on Jota
“Jota is on the same technical level as our front three – I said this before and the whole world can see it,” he told the club’s official website.
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“Quick and being quick in mind is a lethal combination for a striker, he has ‘direction’ in his game.
“Diogo understands that it’s not about him, it’s about him, Sadio, Bobby, Mo, it’s about togetherness.
“It’s about Divock, Shaq, Ox, how they can all relate and help each other. Adapting to our pressing style isn’t easy but with him it goes very naturally.
“It says a lot how quick he adapted to the team and how quick the team adapted to him. It’s just pure quality as a team player and as a person.
“He has this positioning in the box where he is often on the right spot in the right time. This intuition in the box, this pure instinct, that is something that is so difficult to coach. I still find it really difficult to coach that attribute.”
What RTK has to say
Lijnders makes a number of telling statements, notably his comparison to the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Still, we can hardly argue against Lijnders given what we saw in Liverpool’s most recent outing against Wolves.
The Reds seem to have found a perfect alternative to aid Klopp during the absence of Roberto Firmino. Jota’s performance against Wolves was a fine example of that.
His goal against his former club showed off what Liverpool have been lacking in recent weeks. Having combined with both Salah and Mane, Jota interchanged perfectly with his attacking counterparts to slot home the winner.
It came during a period where Liverpool weren’t at that best, either. This is something that the Reds became notorious for during their procession to the title last season.
Jota showed great versatility, too. Against Wolves, he won four headers, one tackle, made two interceptions, created a chance, and, of course, scored the winner. Talk about making the difference for your team.
This is exactly what Liverpool have been lacking in recent weeks, too. With that said, Jota already has solidified himself as one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet.