It’s been a tough season for Liverpool so far who are looking to bounce back from last week’s derby disappointment against Sheffield United this weekend.
The Reds currently sit sixth in the table and five points adrift of the Champions League places.
Not only has form been a source of frustration in recent weeks for Jurgen Klopp, but the club’s seemingly neverending injury list continues to expand.
In the defeat to Everton last weekend, captain, midfielder and makeshift central defender Jordan Henderson was forced off with a hamstring injury and looks set to be sidelined for at least a month.
He’ll now join players such as Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Fabinho and Joel Matip in the treatment room.
However, some much needed good news for the Reds comes in that Diogo Jota, a player who himself has been out of action since late last year due to injury, is close to a return to full match fitness.
Jota was signed in the summer from Wolves for £35million and had an almost instant impact at the club, scoring five goals in nine league appearances and a total of nine across all competitions which included a stunning hat-trick in the Champions League away at Atalanta.
His introduction back into Liverpool’s attack could be key for them in terms of rediscovering their best form in front of goal, particularly given both his clinical nature and all-round attacking versatility.
In terms of the former point, from each of Liverpool's key attackers, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Jota has the best on target % from his shots attempted this season.
Obviously, he’s attempted a fewer number of shots due to the length of his lay off in comparison to Liverpool’s other forwards, which does aid his impressive numbers. But the above does still highlight the efficient form he was in prior to his injury.
On top of this, there’s been a feeling that Liverpool’s key forwards have looked a little jaded in recent months, which could explain some of their issues in front of goal across recent matches.
Had Jota been fit, we may have seen more rotation of the forward line by Klopp. However, with only the likes of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri at his disposal, changes have been difficult to make without a substantial drop in performance levels.
This was one of the key reasons Jota was purchased in the first place. His current ability added with his capacity to play different roles means that he’s excellent attacking cover.
Additionally, his age means he’ll one day be one of the perfect candidates to succeed and replace one of the current front three when they eventually move on.
For now though, his imminent return is a great short-term boost for the Reds and he could play a key role between now and the end of the season - particularly with things like Champions League qualification on the line.