DIOGO JOTA is a great signing for Liverpool but it’s too early to class him as a great player.
There is a difference — and it’s time. But I can see why people are excited about his current run of form.
Six goals in four games, just a short while after moving from Wolves, is impressive without doubt.
This week he has dominated headlines and TV coverage and I don’t begrudge the lad one bit.
We all want to watch forwards livening up games, particularly in these times.
Sure, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has got selection issues now as we approach today’s match against Manchester City. But let’s be a bit patient before we get too carried away.
To be considered a great player at a club like Liverpool, you have to hit the heights week in, week out.
The man Jota is replacing in the team at the moment is Roberto Firmino, someone who has been at Liverpool for five years.
He scored the winning goal in the World Club Championship final earlier this year.
He has won the Premier League and Champions League with them, making a significant contribution to both.
Recently, I heard Gary Neville discuss Firmino as being the best player in the world in his position.
We know what a great player Firmino is but we don’t know much about Jota yet, in Liverpool terms at least. He was in and out of the Wolves team last season, remember.
His durability at Anfield is yet to be tested. But what he gives Liverpool now is cover — great cover in the forward positions, where they are already strong.
If Jota keeps his place, manages to cling on and force Firmino out of the team for long spells, I’ll be surprised — and pleasantly so — because it will be a huge plus for the boy that he is a stayer.
Should he end up having a big say in Liverpool winning the title this year, then we can all proclaim him a great player. For now he is an exciting signing in an exciting team.
The options up front for Klopp are formidable now. But it’s at the back where we may worry a little.
Injury to Virgil van Dijk is a big blow, we all know that but it’s what’s left that is a problem.
Of course, it’s impossible to cover for a player like him, like for like, as Van Dijk is the best in the world in his position.
But Klopp is left with a rookie in Rhys Williams or Nathan Phillips to step in.
Now Williams is a 19-year-old and could seize this opportunity with both hands and go on to become a huge star very soon.
There’s a catalogue of stories like that about players doing this kind of thing. It would be a fairytale if so but 2020 hasn’t been a good year for them.
At the moment, Joe Gomez is going to be the main man at the heart of the defence and he is just a young man himself at the age of 23.
With Liverpool so strong up front and maybe a bit weak at the back, I’m looking forward to lots of goals today.
I’m still tipping this season’s Premier League title winners to come from Manchester City or Liverpool.
But one other thing has struck me and it’s a factor of the current game that plays into the hands of opponents City.
We’re all missing crowds so much — the atmospheres, the noise and the sight of full stadiums. But with that comes the push-pull factor of fans.
The added pressure that can just make the opposition take their eye off the ball for a split second, the roar that drives a player on down the wing, or inspires them to push that bit harder, drag the body through that extra yard or two.
Without that the game can slow down and that suits City, with their expansive football and the players who like to control the pace, use the width of the pitch and play around the opposition.
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