Diogo Jota is desperate to become a top man for Liverpool after an injury nightmare

Diogo Jota is keen to make up for lost time following his injury frustrations and the Liverpool striker is determined to establish himself as a key man in attack.

The Portugal international started for the first time since May in the 2-1 Champions League win over Ajax after returning from a hamstring injury he originally picked up on international duty in June but which worsened in preparation.

He has scored 34 goals in 88 games, at times being used in the front three rows.

The arrival of Luis Diaz in January gave him more playing time through centre, but the signing of Darwin Nunez for a potential club-record fee means Jota has competition at his two strongest positions and missing the opening six games of the season didn’t help.

However, he was picked ahead of Nunez and Roberto Firmino for the central role against the Dutch side and made the difference in the 66 minutes he was on the pitch.

“I couldn’t do everything right in the preseason, but that’s a thing of the past,” he said.

“Football is always a challenge for us to play in the games and face different challenges as well.

“That’s life and football and as a player you have to react to that and face that challenge every day.

“There is always room for improvement. I want to establish myself as an important player here and I can only do that if I’m fit.”

Liverpool's Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz

Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz have brought competition to the forward line (Joe Giddens/PA)

When asked if it was frustrating to sit on the sidelines and watch the team struggle, he added: “Yes, for me even more because I couldn’t be there and help.

“It’s always a lot more complicated when you’re watching from the outside, but it’s a thing of the past now.

“I’m in the squad now and I was able to help and that was good. All is well and ready to go.”

Not only Jota has to adapt to the competition of his new teammates, Diaz and Nunez in particular have to deal with their additional tasks after the sale of Sadio Mane to FC Bayern Munich in the summer.

“Obviously Jurgen (Klopp) has some pretty strong ideas and not every team plays like us so it takes time,” he said.

“He (Nunez) hasn’t played too many games as he’s obviously been sent off, but when you have Sadio, who’s played for this team for a long time and has been used to everything, that’s a pretty big change.

“But I think when we play like that it’s easier for him and everyone and the way we played (against Ajax) is the way to move forward.”

After struggling for momentum this season, Liverpool are now without a game until the October 1 visit to Brighton as Sunday’s trip against Chelsea was postponed.

But with such a long injury list – eight players are unavailable – it could prove a blessing in disguise.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Jota added when asked that this was a source of frustration.

“We have to do what the calendar tells us. Sometimes we have too many games, we often say, and this time we have a break, so let’s take it as it is.

“You don’t have the momentum from the last game, but it is what it is.

“We were playing (against Ajax) and we had to make things right because we won’t be playing for a long time now, so for that reason it was massive and we did our job.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.