Liverpool face Manchester City in the Premier League Sunday and it now seems almost unthinkable that Jota’s name will not be in the starting lineup
Diogo Jota’s superb hat-trick lit up Liverpool’s 5-0 Champions League thrashing of Atalanta Tuesday and served further notice to the club’s famed frontline that the Portuguese striker does not intend to play solely a supporting role.
Liverpool face Manchester City in the Premier League Sunday and it now seems almost unthinkable that Jota’s name will not be in the starting lineup.
That may have seemed unlikely at the start of the season when Liverpool signed the 23-year old from Wolverhampton Wanderers to provide competition to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who had developed into one of the most feared attacking trios in football.
With Firmino’s form under the spotlight after an underwhelming start to the campaign, Jota slotted in alongside Salah and Mane against Atalanta and put on a clinical display of finishing before being replaced by Firmino in the 65th minute.
Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed a reported 41m pounds ($54m) to secure the signature of Jota, who scored 16 goals - nine of them in the Europa League - for Wolves last season.
He has already begun paying back that fee in earnest with seven goals in 10 games, and he tormented the Atalanta defence together with Mane and Salah.
Jota is swiftly developing a taste for European competition having scored three hat-tricks in the Champions League and Europa League combined since the start of last season - the only player to have done so more than once.
With a trip to City to come Sunday, the Portuguese picked the perfect moment to stake his claim to a starting spot.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp hailed Jota’s recent form but said Firmino’s influence on the team’s success should not be forgotten.