London (AFP) – Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders believes new signing Diogo Jota will have no problem making his mark at the club despite some surprise at the reported £41 million fee ($54 million) the English champions paid Wolves for the Portuguese international.
Jota, 23, scored 44 goals in 131 games for Wolves and has been brought in to offer more back up to Liverpool’s established from three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, who have shone for the past three seasons.
“His technical level is on the same as our front three,” said Lijnders, who stood in for Jurgen Klopp to do the Reds’ pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s League Cup tie at Lincoln.
“He has so much future in the game and he will have a great pathway inside our club. He’s like a pressing monster, so he will fit in straight away.”
Lijnders worked for eight years as a coach at Porto, where he came across a young Jota then playing for Pacos Ferreira.
“We played against each other when he was very young. In Portugal, they all say what a great signing Liverpool made, because they know exactly how he is and what kind of potential he still has,” he added.
“He will fit into our style. We are happy with him, and all the things we heard are true. He is a very professional, passionate, dedicated, brave player.”
Jota’s arrival went under the radar just 24 hours after Liverpool completed the signing of Spanish international midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker gave an early glimpse of the different dimension he can offer the Reds by completing more passes than any Chelsea player in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, despite playing just 45 minutes as a second-half substitute.
And Lijnders is not concerned about the increased competition for places as Liverpool aim to avoid becoming too predictable.
“He is a great signing. We didn’t buy a problem, we bought a solution,” said the Dutchman.
“Good teams need good players and we are really happy he is with us because this team especially deserves a player like him because he will make sure we keep evolving.
“Teams adapt, teams try to destroy our plans and what is most important is that we stay unpredictable and unpredictability means from each position we can play the last pass and we can speed up the games and Thiago does that for us.”
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