Jurgen Klopp praised summer signing Diogo Jota after the Liverpool forward made a decisive contribution in his side’s 2-1 win over Sheffield United at Anfield.
The Portugal international cost the Premier League champions £41million in the summer when they signed the versatile forward from Wolves. Jota marked his home debut last month with a goal against Arsenal and proved his worth again on Saturday, popping up with a superb headed winner following typically smart approach play from Sadio Mane.
‘Diogo Jota is a good player, he’s brought a lot,’ Klopp remarked in his post match interview. ‘He’s such a likeable person and that makes everything easier. He is strong, good in the air and on the ground. He is exactly the quality we need and that helps.
‘He’s still adapting, so a lot of things that we do in the moment are not natural to him but that is only because it is different. But a lot of things that he did for Wolves are exactly what we wanted him to do so, yes that he is that close already is just a sign of what a good player he is.’
It was the first time Klopp had opted to field Jota in the same starting line-up as Mane, Mohamad Salah and Roberto Firmino. The Reds fell behind to Sander Berge’s early penalty, and although their Brazilian striker hauled the champions level four minutes before the break, the Liverpool manager wasn’t happy with the balance of his attack during the opening period.
‘We were a bit too hectic at the start,’ said Klopp. ‘We had four offensive players on the pitch but all offered the same option.
‘But I love half time. The second half started good and for 20 to 25 minutes we were really good. We could have scored more and then they came back.’
For Jota, meanwhile, the only regret was that the most important contribution of his Liverpool career to date was not enjoyed first hand by the Anfield faithful.
He said: ‘Like I said before when I scored my first one, I just wish these stands could be full to make it even more special. But I think in the end the most important [thing] was that my goal was important to seal the victory, so I’m very pleased with that.
‘We knew in the second half we needed to come with everything to score the second. We had chances, we had a goal disallowed, but we have to believe until the end and fortunately for us we grabbed the three points.’