Since his return from injury, Diogo Jota has been on a remarkable run, netting three goals and providing four assists. Pep Lijnders attributes Jota’s impressive form to an ‘angry mood,’ a mindset that appears to be benefiting Liverpool.
With Mo Salah sidelined due to the African Cup of Nations, Jota has seamlessly stepped into the spotlight. Last Sunday’s 4-0 victory over Bournemouth showcased his prowess with a double. Since recovering from a hamstring injury on Boxing Day against Burnley, Jota’s contributions include three goals and four assists.
Jota has reclaimed his status as a regular starter, a position he lost to Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez in the earlier part of the season. As Liverpool faces Fulham in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg, Jota is a certain starter.
The Reds carry a 2-1 aggregate lead into the Craven Cottage clash, and Lijnders, handling pre-match press duties, expresses the hope that Jota will approach the game with a mindset of wanting to ‘run against the world.’
The Liverpool assistant manager said: “I never judge them only on that [goals] but yes it is really important – Darwin as well, by the way. That’s the sign of a good squad, that’s the sign of the character and passion and ambition of the players we have, all of them.
“Jota is a player who when he’s in this angry mood, when he’s in this mood where he wants to run against the world, where he wants to decide, he can do things which are incredible.
“We have to get him in that mood as often as possible, but we are really happy with him, Darwin, Lucho [Luis Diaz], Harvey [Elliott], Cody [Gakpo], how they all step up in different moments.
“It’s never that you can just rely [on one]. It was the same with Bobby [Firmino], Mo and Sadio [Mane]. When Mo didn’t play well, Bobby played well. If Sadio and Mo didn’t, Bobby was the one. If Sadio was not creating, Mo would score the goals.
“What I’m trying to say is that when you are drilled, if you are trained, if they are all committed, if they are confident, these things happen.”