It is perhaps a measure of Diogo Jota’s confidence that he chose to leave a system, at Wolves, in which he regularly impressed, to compete for selection in Liverpool’s front three, widely considered Europe’s finest. Before Jota, signed for £45m at the age of 23, the talented Xherdan Shaqiri was among those to move to Anfield and struggle for regular first-team football; despite scoring some particularly important goals, Divock Origi remains peripheral; Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana had become so peripheral they had already left.
Perhaps more than any of those who struggled before him, Jota provides a variety that can potentially compensate for the extent to which Liverpool’s balance suffers when any of that front three is absent. “He’s a player who gives us so many options to use him,” said their manager Jürgen Klopp. “He’s 23 years old; still far away from being a finished article; so much potential. He has the speed, he can combine, can defend, can press. It makes it just more unpredictable and gives us real options for different systems because he can play pretty much all three positions up front in a 4-3-3; if we play with four midfielders he can play both wings.”