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01-Dec-2020, 08:04 pm

‘Jota has fire in each vein when he plays’ – Lijnders reveals why Liverpool wanted Portuguese ‘so much’

Diogo Jota Liverpool

Liverpool wanted Diogo Jota “so much” because they knew that he was a player that “has fire in each vein when he plays”, says the Reds’ assistant manager Pep Lijnders.

The Reds invested £45 million ($60m) worth of faith in the Portugal international forward over the summer.

Jurgen Klopp was already well stocked in the attacking department, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino forming one of the most fearsome frontlines in world football.

Reliable alternatives were required at Anfield, though, and a move for Jota was made after several years of close monitoring.

The 23-year-old has made an immediate impact on Merseyside, hitting nine goals through 14 appearances, and is already staking a serious claim to earning a regular starting berth.

Lijnders claims Liverpool were never in any doubt that they were spending wisely on Jota, with another hard-working performer that mixes effort with end product fitting their blueprint perfectly.

Klopp’s right-hand man told the Reds’ official matchday programme ahead of a Champions League clash with Ajax: “Jurgen had an important role because the way he speaks with the players about our style and our identity is so clear and strong, he has the magic to make these things look simpler.

“Diogo comes from a good tactical culture that makes it more easy, but we can never forget that it still takes time for the body to adapt. That’s why we are careful – he is adapting to a new style and new ideas. But first and foremost, if you come into a great team, things become easier most of the time.

“He has these natural abilities that were already very important to our game idea. This is what made us want him so much.

“When a new player comes, it’s always how the player adapts to the team, its mentality, and how the team understands the player. But you can see that he has fire in each vein when he plays, so the adaptation process has been very natural.”

Jota will be hoping to figure prominently again when Liverpool line up against Ajax on Tuesday, with the Reds looking to build on the 1-0 victory they secured over the Eredivisie heavyweights back in October.

Lijnders added, with the Premier League champions expecting another close game: “It’s always tight when both teams don’t accept the word ‘retreat’. That’s the one word that doesn’t exist in our dictionaries.

“For us it doesn’t matter who we play against, home or away – we will press them high and aggressively and we will attack and attack them again.

“Our style is to attack with and without the ball. We realise that the game is played with one ball – our ball – and we try to steal it back wherever we can on the pitch and use it to attack the opponent.

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