Diogo Jota is Sadio Mané’s true successor at Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s latest comments show that perfectly.
Liverpool announced on Tuesday that Diogo Jota has signed a new long-term contract with the club. The 25-year-old certainly earned a new deal with his performances over the last two years and the Reds now have him tied down for his prime years.
But what kind of role is he set to play? Jota arrived as supposed cover on the wing but quickly established himself as a striker. Not only that but the forward regularly kept Roberto Firmino out of the XI and appeared to be Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice in the role.
Jota fell out of it last season, though, as Luis Diaz arrived to play on the wing. That moved Sadio Mané into a central role and Jota out of the lineup. Any feeling that he’d get the spot back now that Mané is gone disappeared with Darwin Nunez’s arrival.
We do think that Jota’s role is to replace Mané, though. Only, not how we first thought.
Diogo Jota is Sadio Mané’s successor
We wrote in June that Jota can fill Mané’s boots in one key respect – as the most versatile member of Liverpool’s forward line. Jota can be the one Klopp calls on when there’s a gap in the XI. He’s the pick to move about, capable of easily slotting alongside any of the other choices.
That’s a role Mané filled to perfection across his Liverpool career. He started on the right, moved left when Mohamed Salah joined and then finished as a central player once Diaz was in the side.
We see Jota doing similar, maybe with even more regularity. And that certainly sounds like the case with Klopp’s comments this week.
“His qualities are obvious,” said Klopp, per Liverpoolfc.com. “He scores goals – not a bad quality – he works unbelievably hard for the team, his pressing and counter-pressing are on an unbelievable level, he can play in all of our attacking roles and he has an incredible attitude. Not a bad package. Not bad at all.
“As a striker who can play on the wing, he gives us so many options and since he came to Liverpool he has improved so much.”
The boss twice mentions Jota’s versatility and we’re not surprised. That quality will be vital for Liverpool this season as Klopp looks to make use of his depth up top.
Jota, as the sole player who can play any forward role, will take over as Liverpool’s swiss army knife.