Diogo Jota has proven his worth for Liverpool in the 2021/22 season, rising to the occasion to ease the goal scoring burden on Mohamed Salah in the final third.
Jota took his tally to 17 goals in all competitions by downing Leicester City in their Premier League clash, notching a brace to put the Foxes to the sword and keeping the Reds in the hunt for the top-flight crown.
The Portuguese has been a sensation in the final third, not only scoring with regularity, but also finding the net at crucial times, especially when the Merseysiders were without Salah and Sadio Mane who were on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Jota was on point to allow Liverpool to ease past Arsenal in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, booking their spot for a Wembley showdown against Chelsea.
The football prediction before the semi-final believed that the absence of Salah and Mane would result in a victory for the Gunners, but Jota proved his doubters wrong, highlighting his class and his importance to the Reds.
The 25-year-old has now arguably surpassed Mane as Liverpool’s second-best player in the final third.
Salah is still by far the Reds’ key man, but Jota has developed a clinical edge, scoring with both feet and his head, providing a nightmare for opposing defenders to cope with.
Jota’s development into a goalscorer has come at the perfect time for Liverpool as Roberto Firmino’s skills in front of the net are diminishing.
The 30-year-old still has neat touches in and around the box, and can still put them away when given the opportunity, although those goals are becoming few and far between, especially in the Premier League.
When Liverpool paid £45 million to sign Jota, eyebrows were raised regarding where the Portuguese would slot into the front three.
However, the move appears to have been a masterstroke given the form of Firmino over the last two years, ensuring that Liverpool have not suffered as a result of his decline. It has perhaps paved the way for further long-term thinking.
Liverpool pounced ahead of Tottenham to secure the signing of Luis Diaz from Porto for £50m.
The 25-year-old was the in the midst of a breakout season in the Primeira Liga for the Dragons, scoring 14 goals in 18 appearances.
After two games for the Reds he already looks as though he will be handful on the left side for the Reds due to his pace and skill.
The fact that the Colombia international is useful with both feet is another string to his bow.
Jurgen Klopp will be eager to bed Diaz into the system and the Premier League over the remaining months of the season before asking more of the forward.
His presence and potential are not only vital in terms of competition for places and depth in the squad, but also the long-term view as Salah has not signed a contract extension yet, while Mane’s form has shown signs of decline from the immense levels between 2018 and 2020.
Diaz could yet be another transfer market masterstroke like so many before him in the final third at Anfield.