Diogo Jota is maturing at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp as a new crucial characteristic emerges.
Diogo Jota had a fantastic debut season with Liverpool in front of goal, and he continued his good form in 2021/22 by netting in the first two games against Norwich City and Burnley.
Following the Reds’ 3-0 win over Leeds United at Elland Road, the Portuguese attacker now has a goal every 136 minutes for the club, just a hair below Mohamed Salah’s 133-minute average (and if we ignore penalties then Jota has the edge).
If one were to criticize Jota’s efforts last season, it would be reasonable to conclude that he provided very little in the way of creating opportunities for his teammates.
Liverpool’s midfielders and substitutes aren’t known for their ability to create chances. They aren’t even required to do so under Jurgen Klopp’s system. However, James Milner, Neco Williams, Naby Keita, and Curtis Jones were among the players that created more goal scoring chances than Jota did last season.
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In all competitions, Liverpool’s number 20 created just three clear-cut chances, the same as Joel Matip and fewer than nine other Reds, with his only assist setting up Salah for the opening goal of the Champions League second leg match against RB Leipzig.
While Jota’s impressive goal totals in 2020/21 may have made his lack of creativity irrelevant, Klopp relies on his front five (forwards + full-backs) to create the most of the team’s high-quality scoring opportunities.
With this in mind, the fact that Jota was so productive against Marcelo Bielsa’s club on Sunday afternoon was quite encouraging. It wasn’t just a particularly inventive performance in the context of his Liverpool career, but also in comparison to his teammates during the previous 12 months.
Jota made a total of eight critical passes, according to FBRef (meaning they directly preceded shots). Sadio Mane’s four chances generated make him only the fifth Liverpool player to set up a specific other for four or more chances since the start of the 2017/18 season.
Jota also gave Thiago Alcantara, Harvey Elliott, and Jordan opportunities. “The summary has come to an end.”