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JURGEN KLOPP says that Diogo Jota made his dazzling league debut for the Reds on only “20 per cent information,” backing him to make significant improvements under Sadio Mane’s guidance.
The former Wolves forward could have had a hat-trick during his 10-minute cameo against Arsenal on Monday, but capped his first game at Anfield with a goal to make it 3-1, killing off the visitors’ hopes of snatching a point.
Jota had earlier hit the side-netting with only Bernd Leno to beat, with Mohamed Salah later taking a chance off his toes from a similar position, before the new signing found the net in the 88th minute with a neat thigh trap and volley from the edge of the area.
The Portugal international also played 33 minutes in last week’s EFL Cup win at Lincoln and could start at home in the cup to Arsenal again on Thursday as Klopp works to get him up to speed.
“Diogo came on, played naturally his football, tried to defend the way we defend,” said the manager.
“He is on 20 per cent of information on what we do exactly; we had meetings to talk about it and that will all take time.
“[Against Arsenal] he had 60 or 70 minutes to watch how Sadio is doing and then he came on the pitch and did incredibly well.
“He scored a super goal, a nice first game at Anfield. He will never forget it, I will never forget it. A cool start.”
Jota said he is aware that he has some way to go to be able to regularly reach the levels which made Liverpool the Premier League champions last season.
“When you arrive at a team that are world champions, you always try to adapt as quickly as possible,” he said.
“When we are on the bench we are watching the game closely, with attention.
“We know we could come on at any moment and we could have a chance to decide the game in the few moments that we are on.
“That’s what I try to do — always be focused — and when I’m on the pitch I’m always ready to do my best.
“I think we can build up from here and do great things in the future.”
Meanwhile, Gunners defender Hector Bellerin insists that it will take time for Arsenal to build their new identity, but that setbacks will lead them away from the style Mikel Arteta wants to play.
Monday night’s defeat ended their 100 per cent record this season, and on just 34 per cent possession they found it difficult to play out from the back against their hosts high press.
But despite there being occasions, most notably when Rob Holding was in possession, when the tactic looked decidedly dodgy, Bellerin said they had faith in Arteta’s philosophy.
“We’ve got new players that have come in this season and they need to get used to the system,” he said.
“This is our game. This is what we have been training since Mikel has been here, so just because a team is the best in Europe at [pressing], doesn’t mean we change the way we play.”
Both teams are likely to make changes on Thursday, but Bellerin said that will not affect the mindset.
“There is a hunger in this team that wasn’t there the last few years and we want to win every single game,” he said.
“We are getting better every time. We have to come here on Thursday again and we will give them another battle and that’s what is important for us … Hopefully the next time we will put them to bed.”
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