Jurgen Klopp’s assistant is being proved right about Diogo Jota at Liverpool

Brentford v Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp pre match

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Jurgen Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders was extremely complimentary of Diogo Jota during Liverpool’s pre-season, and the Portuguese star is proving the no.2 right after his fine start to the Premier League season.

Diogo Jota has started the season off in fine style for Liverpool, but this was expected from Jurgen Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders who was well aware of promise that the Portuguese star was showing during pre-season.

Jota was the first Liverpool name on the scoresheet for the third time already this Premier League season, and headed in from Jordan Henderson’s delivery to cancel out Ethan Pinnock’s shock opener at the Brentford Community Stadium.

The visitors kicked on further in the second half and Mohamed Salah put his side ahead with his 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool, but this was quickly cancelled out by Vitaly Janelt who was quick to react to a loose ball to make it 2-2.

Liverpool thought they had won it as Curtis Jones fired one home from range to restore the Reds lead, but substitute Yoanne Wissa became the hero for the hosts, chipping his effort over Alisson Becker to salvage a draw.

Jota looked sharp and could have scored many more against Brentford on Saturday, as Lijnders is being proved right about the Liverpool star.

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Liverpool signed Jota from Wolves last summer for a fee in the region of £40million, and enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season at Anfield, scoring 13 goals across all competitions, including a Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta.

A knee injury disrupted three months of Jota’s season, but the Portuguese star has looked as fit as ever to being the new campaign, and his header against Brentford was his third goal of the Premier League season already.

This comes as no surprise for Lijnders, who was impressed by a “frightening” Jota in pre-season, off the back of a decent performance in the summers European Championships with Portugal.

As Jota joined up with Liverpool’s intense pre-season camp, Lijnders said: “It’s great Diogo has joined us because you see immediately the speed he has and, at the same time, so much control over his body and the ball.

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“It’s frightening. He gives our front line a lot of direction and energy.

“Diogo is not a typical Portuguese winger who receives the ball in his feet and creates disorganisation with dribbles from outside.

“Diogo is vertical, a second striker in the box, a pure Liverpool winger. He smells the goal, is technically on a high level. Especially with our passing game we need Diogo’s movements in behind the last line. He defends on a high level.”

Jota has recently enjoyed a consistent run in the team due to the hamstring troubles that Roberto Firmino has been dealing with since returning from the international break, but there is a case that the Portuguese forward has done enough to start ahead of the Brazilian regardless.

Firmino returned to Liverpool’s bench against Brentford, but with Jota continuing to score when leading the line, it’s hard to argue why the forward shouldn’t continue being Liverpool’s main starter.

The 24-year-old is one of Liverpool’s main long-term options moving forward, with the iconic front three of Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane all sharing the age of 29, but Jota has already proved he has what it takes to succeed at the club.

Liverpool will be hoping to keep hold of their famous front three for as long as possible, but Salah is yet to follow stars such as Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold in signing a new long-term contract with the club.

Jota is under contract until 2025, and their business for the forward last summer now looks like an excellent capture, and could be key to Liverpool’s success in the near future.

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