'Pure quality': Liverpool coach says Reds have a seriously 'lethal' player in their ranks
Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders has waxed lyrical about Diogo Jota following his superb return to the Reds first team after recovering from injury.
The 24-year-old hit the ground running at Anfield following his £41million move from Wolves in September, registering 10 goals in 21 competitive appearances for Liverpool.
Jota’s heroics gave Jurgen Klopp a positive selection headache in terms of his strongest front line, which boasts the impressive Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
However, a knee injury suffered during Liverpool’s Champions League game against Midtjylland in early December ruled the Portugal international out of action until earlier this month.
Jota has since returned to action and, as well as assisting in the Champions League last-16 second-leg win over RB Leipzig, he scored the winner against Wolves in the Premier League.
Lijnders believes Jota’s “pure quality” has enabled him to settle quickly into life at Anfield.
“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 Liverpool website.
“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.”
Jota has been nothing short of sensational for Liverpool, becoming a first-team option in a front line featuring three of the best attackers in world football.
He’s been unlucky with injuries but next season, when Klopp has most of his key first-teamers back, the Reds should be a completely different proposition to this term.
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