Ex-Liverpool favourite Kuyt praises ‘incredibly important’ star

Dan Butterfield
Ex-Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt

Former Liverpool fan favourite Dirk Kuyt has praised Diogo Jota for his performances since his move from Wolves in 2020.

Jota has impressed ever since his move to Anfield, initially coming in as a squad player but now finding himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.

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The Portuguese forward has slotted into Liverpool formidable front three alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Mane and Salah have been absent this month due to international duty and Jota has stepped up their absence to keep Liverpool in the hunt for Premier League glory.

Jota also bagged a brace in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal to send Liverpool to Wembley and Kuyt has praised his impact since joining the club.

Writing in his column on Liverpoolfc.com, Kuyt said: “His goals at Arsenal, of course, secured Liverpool’s spot at Wembley, and it was hugely encouraging to see him as such a goal threat even when playing out wide.

“Jota probably prefers and has better opportunities to score when he’s playing in the centre of the front line. But players up front these days can play in every position and still be effective in the penalty area.

“That said, it can be difficult to be shifted out wide when you’re a striker by nature. Obviously everyone knows I arrived at Liverpool as a centre-forward and was used there by Rafa Benitez during my first season.

“I was the club’s top scorer in the Premier League in 2006-07 but was then put out on the right for the following campaign. You’ve got to change your mindset because the team asks something different from you.

“Anyway, I think in Klopp’s system every attacker – even those out wide – has many possibilities to score goals. Jota and Oxlade-Chamberlain have proven that in the last week or so.

“What a great signing Jota has been. His arrival in September 2020 just gave the feeling that even the top players – the brilliant front three – had to fight for their place in the team. Competition like that is so helpful.

“He’s incredibly important for Liverpool and scores important goals, too – a handy trait for sides going for trophies.”