Klopp reveals what surprised him about ‘outstanding’ Diaz; makes Jota admission

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after they beat Crystal Palace, January 2022

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was surprised by how quickly Luis Diaz has adapted, and revealed he had a “sense” about what Diogo Jota would become.

Liverpool put the pressure back on Man City when seeing off Leicester 2-0 at Anfield. Luis Diaz had the home crowd on their feet when forming a superb early partnership with Andy Robertson. Mohamed Salah returned to a hero’s welcome when substituted late on, but it was Diogo Jota that had the biggest impact.

The ever-reliable Portuguese bagged two more goals to take his season tally to 17. The first showcased his predatory instinct before wrapping up all three points with a strike that proved too hot to handle for Kasper Schmeichel late on.

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Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Klopp said: “Leicester are a really good team. The set-up was a little like they played against us in the first league game.

“I don’t think they had too many finishes but they had moments that we had to defend. We had the bigger chances and we deserved the win. It was for sure not the best we ever played but it was really good enough to win.”

Klopp knew what Jota could become

On Jota, Klopp said: “The second goal is a brilliant goal. A counter-press. I love it.

“Jota with a little genius moment to put it into the right spot. The first goal is really when you are in a goal-scoring moment then you are there. He is in that. Really happy for him and for us.”

When asked if he knew Jota would become a “fox in the box”, the German admitted: “We had a sense it could happen.

“He is not a bargain or whatever and we did not get him for free! But we hoped. He is still a young lad. We create more chances than Wolves did in all respect. We really thought he would be an outstanding player. He was already but he has improved for sure.”

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When the attention turned to Diaz who the interviewer claimed looks tailor-made for Liverpool, Klopp said: “That is exactly how it looked in the training session.

“He watched us and we showed him a lot of situations. It looks natural. It is really quick I must say. Really, really good performance. He had some outstanding moments.”

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Robertson keen to offer Sadio Mane reminder

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson also spoke to the press, telling BT Sport: “It is never comfortable against Leicester. But we took our chances at the right time.

“When you have people playing like Diogo Jota playing with that confidence you always believe they can score goals. It was an important win for us, a clean sheet and two goals. We move on now.”

On his superb link-up with Diaz, Robertson joked: “My Spanish isn’t great but we made it work today.”

Nonetheless, Robertson was keen to ensure people didn’t forget about his regular partner in crime down the left over the last few years.

The Scot added: “My partnership with Sadio Mane has been great over the last five years so he’ll come back full of confidence after winning AFCON. But we have options now. We have competition all over the park.

“In his first training session I saw him flying about and I thought ‘he’ll be OK here!’ For his first start, I thought he was excellent today. I think the crowd really took to him.”

Matchwinner Jota said in his post-match interview: “I always like to get into those spaces. I was lucky enough to be in the right place and to score. It’s never easy but we killed the game afterwards.

“It’s my best [goals tally] so far. I want to keep helping the team. That’s the most important thing.

“It was obviously an established front three [at Liverpool when he joined] but we have more options now and that is good for the team. Everyone will be needed at some point.”

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