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Diogo Jota ... Liverpool's understated match-winner

Diogo Jota of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC in London, England, 16 March 2022. Picture: Neil Hall/EPA

Diogo Jota of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC in London, England, 16 March 2022. Picture: Neil Hall/EPA

Published Mar 19, 2022

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Durban - It’s safe to say that Sadio Mane has been declining in recent years. Mohamed Salah continues to deliver match-winning performances for Liverpool and at this moment is likely to win the Premier League’s golden boot award this season.

Salah has scored 20 goals in the English top flight so far, the most by any player in the league by quite a distance.

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However, his future at Anfield is the subject of speculation. Liverpool have yet to reach an agreement with the Egyptian star. His deal with the Reds expires in June 2023. This means that if he does not sign a new deal, he will ideally have to be sold at the end of this season if Liverpool are to get a good fee instead of risking losing him for a bargain or in the worst case scenario for free come next year.

Liverpool will have to make a tough decision regarding Salah. To keep him, they will likely have to make him the highest paid footballer in the world, if not close to it. There is also no doubt that the vultures will soon begin to circle with astronomical salary offers.

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Despite the Salah situation, Liverpool fans need not yet be too concerned. Even with Salah being one of the best players in the Liverpool team, Jurgen Klopp’s side proved in their 2-0 win over Arsenal earlier this week that they can function as a cohesive unit without him.

Diogo Jota has matured incredibly since joining Liverpool in 2020. He has quietly so far scored 13 league goals this season. Jota’s star performances have not been talked about too much due to Salah’s Ballon d’or nominee quality performances. If the Portugal international can continue at his current level of progress, he could just be good enough to succeed Salah within a year.

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Despite not being the biggest player you can find, Jota is still strong in the air. What he does not have in terms of natural talent, he makes up for with his football intelligence. He is versatile in terms of playing anywhere across the front line.

When he joined Liverpool, some questioned why Klopp signed him. The versatility is very likely to have been the biggest point as the German tactician looked to ease the workload of Salah and Mane without compromising their own roles.

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In Luis Diaz, Liverpool also have plenty of hope. The winger only joined Liverpool in January and he fits into their tactical system so smoothly that one could easily be fooled into thinking that he’s been playing with the team for a few years.

Salah remains arguably the best attacker in the Premier League and Liverpool. However, Jota has proved this season that Liverpool now have yet another world-class and match-winning attacker in their side.

@eshlinv

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