Diogo Jota ready to follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps

21 Jan 2022 | 12:17 | Football

The Liverpool star shows he is on his way to becoming the next level of Portuguese football after Cristiano Ronaldo.

After a 2-0 victory over Arsenal in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final at dawn on January 21 (Hanoi time), coach Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool admitted that he wanted to win this tournament more than anyone.

Liverpool have had a difficult time in the past month due to injuries and the absence of African players returning to serve the national team. Therefore, “The Kop” is difficult to overcome Arsenal in the League Cup if Jota does not shine.

Diogo Jota's two goals helped Liverpool overcome rivals Arsenal right away to reach the final of the 2021/22 League Cup. Photo: Reuters

Diogo Jota’s two goals helped Liverpool overcome rivals Arsenal right away to reach the final of the 2021/22 League Cup. Photo: Reuters

Excellent performance

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are absent, Liverpool are left with strikers like Jota, Roberto Firmino, Takumi Minamino or young talent Kaide Gordon, who kicked off before Arsenal in the second leg. Of these, only Jota knows how to shine when the team needs it.

Coach Klopp called Jota’s performance against Arsenal “world class”. “Arsenal played better than us in the early game”, the German strategist admitted. “At the beginning of the second half, everything was the same. Liverpool scored two great goals thanks to Jota. He transformed himself into a world-class striker.”

Klopp’s praise for Jota is well worth it. The Portuguese striker has only spent his second season at Anfield, but he has shown improvement. In the summer of 2020, Liverpool spent £ 41 million to sign the striker from Wolverhampton.

The 25-year-old striker scored 9 goals in 19 appearances in the 2020/21 Premier League. He has to compete with the top strikers in the world like Salah, Mane or Firmino. Before Jota arrived half a year, the Anfield team also bought another striker named Minamino.

In the Premier League this season, Jota surpassed his own record last season, when he scored 10 goals in 20 appearances. The important thing with the former Porto star also lies in the fact that he is ready to play the role of Liverpool’s striker when the team needs it.

Coach Klopp assessed Jota as a player with a good playing mentality plus an impressive technical background. “The mentality of the game and the quality of the game is the reason why we recruited him (Jota – PV)”, the Liverpool captain revealed. “Jota’s football skills make him a striker to watch.”

Jota became a nightmare for Arsenal’s defense in the last match. He has speed, the ability to dribble the ball, combined with cunning and good finishing skills. In the first goal, Jota caused Arsenal right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu to fall to the ground.

In the second phase, the spearhead wearing the number 20 shirt broke the smart offside trap to beat goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. Central defender Ben White of the home team was also helpless many times when he had to chase Jota. It should be remembered that the “Gunners” are one of the teams with the best defense in the Premier League at the moment.

Coach Klopp assessed Jota has grown to become a world-class striker. Photo: Reuters.

Coach Klopp assessed Jota has grown to become a world-class striker. Photo: Reuters.

Forget worrying about Mane and Salah

Jota turned 25 last December, and the Liverpool striker has a promising future ahead of him. The Portuguese player’s willingness to fill the void left by Mane or Salah brings a positive signal for “The Kop”.

Both Mane and Salah’s current contracts with Liverpool will expire in June 2023. The Anfield team has great trouble keeping two African strikers. In an interview last week, Salah said he didn’t ask for “crazy” demands, but the team’s management knew what he wanted.

Both Salah and Mane are demanding a high salary increase, which can make it difficult for the financial situation of “The Kop” at the moment. If Liverpool cannot quickly convince Salah and Mane to sign new contracts, the possibility that they will lose everything or have to sell players early is very likely.

Jota’s excellent performance helped the port city team’s leadership easier to calculate. Two goals against Arsenal helped Jota reach a performance of 138 minutes per goal (excluding penalties) since arriving at Liverpool. Meanwhile, Salah has a performance of 147 minutes/goal.

In the last leg of the semi-final second leg of the League Cup, Liverpool played no better than Arsenal. However, the away team knows how to overcome the opponent thanks to the superiority of people. Jota’s two classy goals are what coach Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal board covet. The London team at the moment does not have a good striker like Jota.

When the match at the Emirates ended, the Liverpool fans started singing Jota’s name. After famous songs about Virgil Van Dijk, Firmino or Salah, Jota is the next name worthy of “The Kop” fans to compose their own song.