Conor Coady has heaped praise on the mental fortitude, aerial prowess and overall ability of Liverpool forward Diogo Jota.
The 25-year-old Portuguese has been a revelation at Anfield since trading Wolves for Jurgen Klopp’s men in September 2020, currently sitting third in the Premier League goalscoring charts this campaign (15), below only team-mate Mohamed Salah (20) and Spurs forward Son Heung-Min (17).
A few eyebrows were raised when Liverpool forked out circa £40m for the menacing forward from Molineux, but under Klopp’s guidance, he has emerged as a serious goalscoring threat at Anfield, one to challenge and compete alongside the German’s famous front three, even surpassing Roberto Firmino in the pecking order at this stage.
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Jota’s qualities as a supreme Premier League talent were never under the spotlight during his time at Wolves, but some questioned whether he could replicate the world-class scoring antics of Klopp’s attacking line in Salah, Sadio Mane and (to a certain degree) Firmino.
But, he has more than silenced those who harboured doubts about his ability to seamlessly slot in to Klopp’s attack, and he is now one of the first names on the team-sheet. Liverpool graduate and a former team-mate of Jota at Wolves, Coady, says he has not been surprised by his form at Anfield.
The Wolves captain told Premier League Productions: “I knew when he [Jota] moved to Liverpool, a lot of people were asking me ‘How’s he going to be? What is he going to be like?’
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“The biggest thing I can say about him is his mentality to do well. That’s how I always knew he was going to be a success at Liverpool. He wants to win, wants to score goals and wants to be in the box and win headers. He is incredibly good in the air for a little fella.”
Jota’s aerial prowess has been well-documented. He has, in fact, netted the most headed goals in the Premier League this season of any player (four). Incredibly, that tally matches a certain 6ft 7in Paul Onuachu of Genk. The towering Nigeria international has notched 19 Belgian Pro League goals this term, four of which have come from his head, placing him level with a 5ft 10in Jota in 2021/22.
The 25-year-old also bagged Liverpool’s first equaliser in Sunday’s frantic 2-2 at the Etihad, squeezing the ball past Ederson after evading his marking and creating space for Trent Alexander-Arnold to pick him out. Coady went on to emphasise the tactical ‘intelligence’ of Liverpool’s penalty-box assassin.
“He is so, so intelligent with his movement and he never switches off,” said Coady. “You see with this goal, the play before is fantastic. But he makes the first run, now he is offside, then he makes sure he gets himself back onside and just stands still. It’s intelligence, and then the ball goes underneath Ederson.
“His movement to go in, not getting the ball, then to come out and switch on again was absolutely fantastic. It was a great goal.”