“I hope he’s back for the next 10 years” - Jurgen Klopp hails ‘very smart’ Liverpool star for his ‘football brain’

Jurgen Klopp praises Diogo Jota
Jurgen Klopp praises Diogo Jota

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp reserved special praise for Diogo Jota in his pre-match conference ahead of their game against Newcastle United on January 1, 2024.

Jota returned from injury in their last game at Turf Moor against Burnley on December 26. The Portuguese international came off the bench in the latter stages of the game and scored an important goal to kill the tie and hand them a 2-0 win against the Clarets.

Praising Jota's game, Klopp said (via Liverpool.com):

"Diogo has a football brain, he's a very smart footballer, he understands the game really well. The game is blessed with some of these players, who understand the game on a different level, and he's one of them."

He added:

"It gives him the chance to understand the game a little earlier. On top of that, he's a great finisher. I love the Diogo story, he's back and I hope he's back for the next 10 years.”

Jota has played 18 games this season, scoring nine goals in them. Overall, he has registered 50 goals and 17 assists in 131 games for the Reds. He joined Liverpool back in 2020 from Wolverhampton Wanderers, for a reported fee of £41 million.

Klopp adresses the upcoming unavailability of Mohamed Salah in January

Mohamed Salah is set to leave for AFCON 2024 and represent Egypt in January and possibly February. He will play his last game later today against Newcastle United.

Liverpool's recent club statement confirmed the talismanic striker will not be available for the FA Cup game against Arsenal on January 7 due to AFCON commitments. He could be out till February 11, the date for the final of the international tournament, missing as many as eight games.

Klopp believes the Reds will miss the left-footed forward but have enough ammunition in other forwards to attempt to cope without Salah. He said (via Liverpool.com):

"Yes, absolutely, it's great timing. And it's good as well that we played the West Ham game without Mo starting, seeing that we can do something without him."

He added:

"You want to have Mo Salah, he plays all the time, on the pitch, but he's not available. You always have to find solutions and usually we find some."

Salah has registered 16 goals and eight assists in 26 games across competitions for the Reds this season.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee