Liverpool’s recruitment kicked into gear in dramatic fashion last weekend as they unveiled the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich, quickly followed by Diogo Jota from fellow Premier League club Wolves.
It was the latter which caught many by surprise, without being linked to the Portuguese star, suddenly he was a Liverpool player as the Premier League champions tied up a £41 million deal to sign the 23-year-old.
Often used as a wide forward Jota ticks the ‘need backup for the front three’ box in Jurgen Klopp’s squad. Although it remains to be seen who may depart Anfield in the coming weeks, coupled with options such as Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Takumi Minamino as well as a host of youngsters, it seems the Reds have now got all backup bases covered.
Just where will Jota fit in with the title holders?
Often used as a left inside forward throughout his career in Portugal and since his arrival in England, Jota is capable of operating through the middle although it seems likely he will mainly be used out wide.
Although currently occupied by Sadio Mane, Jota will see his fair share of match action. It has long been used as a stick to beat Klopp’s Reds but their apparent nonplussed attitude towards domestic cup competitions could well change with additional strength in depth.
Jota could well make his Liverpool debut in such a competition when they travel to Lincoln City on Thursday night for the Carabao Cup Third Round.
Whilst the infallible Liverpool front three are arguably the best in the world it is a fair argument to say without one the others fail, as well as the drop off in quality with the previous understudies being too high to afford to rest anyone during even the most strenuous periods.
Now, however, with quality of the likes of Jota waiting in the wings, Klopp will be far more willing to perhaps rest his star men in certain matches, as well as having the capabilities from the bench to change the direction of travel of a match should it not be going his side’s way.
From a numbers perspective whilst Jota doesn’t quite match up with the current Liverpool wide men, although neither Mane or Salah were hitting the numbers they are now prior to their Anfield arrival. Klopp and his staff could well be about to take another prestigious talent up a number of levels.
Jota struck 33 goals in 111 league Wolves performances, and has also recently bagged his first international goal amidst his first four caps.
In 34 Premier League appearances last term, the Portuguese star scored seven times and assisted once. By comparison Mane scored 18 times and assisted seven in just one more outing.
Clear to see the position sharers are somewhat apart on the numbers front, although that gap could be accentuated by the differing levels of teams they were in.
Ultimately Jota is unlikely to be a regular starter to begin with and at just 23, the Portuguese international has plenty of time to grow into his Reds career, without any pressure to begin with.
Jota will most likely be utilised at the forefront of what Liverpool will hope to be a prolonged cup run, whilst providing an energetic and slightly alternative option off the bench in Premier League action.
Should, god forbid, any of the front three pick up an injury, Jota at least offers high quality backup with proven English top flight experience. Something almost everybody can agree was previously missing from the squad, despite the unrivalled success of the last 18 months.