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‘I never thought about taking anyone’s place,’ says Diogo Jota

Liverpool v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Anfield
(Image credit: Peter Byrne)

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota insists he never arrived at Anfield thinking about displacing their established famed front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

The Portugal international will reach the first anniversary of his maiden goal for the club when he returns to former side Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday.

While the point of his £45million move made sense to Liverpool as it brought in a strong back-up to their forward stars, the challenge the 24-year-old faced was considerable.

However, he announced himself with a Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta in early November and with Firmino’s form being patchy over the last 12 months Jota has become an important part of Liverpool’s attacking options.

“Obviously I knew they were one of the best three attacking trios in the world but I never thought about coming and taking anyone’s place,” said Jota, who has scored 16 goals in 37 matches for the club despite having missed three months with a knee problem in the middle of last season.

“I thought about giving my best in training and in games and then it’s up to the manager to decide.

“It’s always useful when you have those kind of players to help you because what we want is to win and only if you have good players are you able to do that.”

Jota has scored three in six matches this season and Klopp is more than happy with the contribution he has made so far.

“He’s an exceptional player. I’m really happy we signed him. He is a really strong personality, you cannot know about that before you met the person, but he is a really impressive, mature, young man,” said the manager.

“That makes it enjoyable to work with him. We spoke about it from time to time that it’s not easy to improve us but Diogo did that, definitely.

“He has scored important goals. He is a player made for our style: pretty intense, technically good, really fast, good in the air, both feet really good.

“Diogo is a very interesting package and I am really happy we saw that and could realise the transfer. That has helped us a lot.”