Former Bayern Munich and England midfielder Owen Hargreeves claims that no one expected Diogo Jota to have the flying start to life at Liverpool that he has had.
Hargreeves says that Jota is a top player, but he was not anticipating him to have an instant impact at Liverpool and believes that Jurgen Klopp’s change in formation against Manchester City was due to his form.
Speaking on the Premier League Analysis Show, which was broadcast by Premier League productions, as transcribed by HITC, Hargreeves commented on Klopp’s change in formation. “The one thing that made him tweak it was the form of Diogo Jota.
“Everybody knows that he is a top player, but I don’t think anybody anticipated him coming in and having the impact that he has.
“It’s been that significant that Klopp has thought this may be the perfect opportunity to play the front four, with Van Dijk out.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Liverpool typically line up with a traditional 4-3-3 formation, with three central midfielders behind a front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. However, Klopp opted to go with a 4-2-3-1 against Man City, with Jota slotting in across the attacking four and Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson covering the defensive duties as a pair.
Heading into the match, Jota had scored seven goals for Liverpool this season despite only starting four games across the Champions League and Premier League. He was demonstrating his ability in front of goal to such a degree that it tempted Klopp into altering his base formation to fit him into the side against City. Did it work? It’s hard to say as it was a hard-fought draw which could have gone either way. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with it against Leicester after the international break or drops Jota back to the bench to bring in a conventional midfielder.
Was Jota’s start to life at Liverpool the surprise Hargreeves makes it out to be? Looking at his form for Wolves in the Premier League, yes. Jota scored seven goals in 27 Premier League games for Wolves last season, with the forward only four goals off matching that tally after three starts for Liverpool this term. This suggests that he is currently performing to a higher level than he has managed before and it is now down to him to keep it up in the long-term.