Diogo Jota’s move to Anfield in the summer was another example of the nous that exists in Liverpool’s recruitment department.
Jurgen Klopp has played a big role in turning the Reds into European and Premier League champions but the astute transfers the club have made in the last five years has been unparalleled.
The Portuguese’s arrival was another smart piece of business in a difficult summer transfer window. The Reds needed to bring in quality to have more options in attack beyond the front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota was identified as a key target.
The winger’s experience in the Premier League with Wolves also played a major role in the Reds moving for him, as the player has taken little time to settle at Anfield.
The 23-year-old was signed to play second fiddle behind the front three but Jota has now started to make his presence felt.
He has made just four starts in all competitions but has already scored four goals including in the last two league games against Sheffield United and West Ham and both were winners in close encounters.
Diogo Jota is really pushing for a place in the front three at the moment but who is he going to replace?
Diogo Jota could push Roberto Firmino out of the starting XI soon
Roberto Firmino has been a brilliant servant to the club over the years and has been a major player beyond Liverpool’s success in the last couple of seasons. But the goals for the Brazilian started to dry up since last season.
He scored just 12 times in all competitions in 2019-20 and only one of his league goals came at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp has often stressed the importance of Firmino in his system and insisted that his contribution goes much beyond scoring goals in the centre forward role.
But the stats don’t lie and Firmino is getting increasingly goal-shy and has scored just once in the current campaign.
With the likes of Divock Origi on the bench in previous years, the 29-year-old never actually felt the pressure of snapping at his heels from the outside. But Diogo Jota’s arrival this season has changed that.
The Portuguese has the ability to play across the frontline and has already shown his ability to come up with key goals when Liverpool needed him the most.
Firmino’s link-up play and what he adds to the Liverpool system upfront is still valued and that is why he has continued to remain in the starting eleven under Klopp. But questions will be raised soon if the Brazilian continues to remain goal-shy and Jota keeps making an impact from the bench.
For the moment, Diogo Jota is happy with his role in the Liverpool squad but he might also soon wonder what he would have to do to cement his place in the starting eleven.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have continued to score the goals and are unlikely to make way for Jota into the starting eleven. But their long-term partner, Firmino, is the one who could soon be feeling the heat and the pressure of Jota’s goals.
He is not scoring enough goals or creating as much as he used to in the past. The Brazilian now has a much younger forward snapping at his heels in the form of Diogo Jota.
The Portuguese is acutely aware that if he continues to score goals over the next few weeks and months, he would force Jurgen Klopp’s hands into getting him into the starting eleven.
And at the moment, it seems Roberto Firmino will be the one to make way unless he starts scoring goals or the Liverpool manage decides that the Brazilian is still too important for his system to work.