HomeKlopp praises Jota ahead of Salah absence

Klopp praises Jota ahead of Salah absence


Jurgen Klopp has hailed “smart footballer” Diego Jota with the Portugal forward set to be a key player for Liverpool in January.

Jota came off the bench to grab a late goal in the 2-0 win at Burnley on Boxing Day having not played since injuring a hamstring at Manchester City on November 25.

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He will again be in the squad for Monday’s home game with Newcastle and will assume greater importance when Mohamed Salah leaves to join up with the Egypt squad ahead of the African Cup of Nations next week.

Klopp said: “His football brain, he is a very smart footballer, that’s how it is. He understands the game particularly well.

“I really think Portugal is blessed with some of these kind of players who really understand the game on a different level – and he is one of them, definitely.

“It gives him a chance to see to see situations slightly earlier, to adapt to different things the opponent is doing a little bit quicker. That’s it, on top of that he is both-footed and a great finisher.”

Jota’s return to fitness means Liverpool will have their full arsenal of attacking options against Newcastle with Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo also vying for a place in the side.

Klopp added: “Everybody was quite positive about our five options, I don’t think we had it that often, to be honest. It’s so important these boys can rotate between them.”

Liverpool will take on a Newcastle side that have lost four of their last five Premier League games, as well as crashing out of European football and the EFL Cup.

Klopp has some sympathy for Eddie Howe and his players, however.

“Newcastle have had a lot of injuries but they played European football now which they haven’t done 50 times in a row,” he said.

“So it’s just recovery and then go again, so it’s an adjustment and it’s been a bit of a problem. They have still done well in the games I saw, but Eddie has had to use the same line-up too often, that’s clear.

“Credit to the players and their efforts but it was the same line-up so the players who play all the time are tired and the ones coming back have no rhythm.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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