The rise of Diogo Jota from surprise signing to one of the Reds most lethal forwards

The Portuguese attacker has become an integral part of Liverpool's dynamic.
Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

The summer of 2020 at Liverpool was an interesting one as they were basking in the glow of their first Premier League title. They had secured the top flight title by a whopping 18 points over Manchester City.

However, despite that, they did not rest on their laurels as Jurgen Klopp and Co. knew that reinforcements were still required.

Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Harry Wilson were gone. In came names we know very well today; Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcantara and of course, Diogo Jota.

Tsimikas was seen as a nice depth option coming from the Greek Super League to deputize for Andy Robertson when the need arose. Thiago arrived at a bargain cost from Bayern Munich as Liverpool deviated from their typical strategy of targeting younger players.

A day after signing Thiago, the Reds finalized a £45 million deal to bring over a 23-year old Portuguese winger from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Earning his place in a Title winning squad

When Liverpool brought in Jota it was seen as a mild surprise to some as he was not a player that was taking the footballing world by storm.

He scored 44 goals in 131 appearances with Wolves so he was a clearly a good player, but there was not a high demand for his services across the continent.

Klopp believed his positional versatility across the front line meant he would be a good challenge for the incumbent trio of Sadio Mane-Roberto Firmino-Mohamed Salah. As it turned out, over the years, that would be an astute analysis.

Jota wasted little time settling into his surroundings as he netted his first Liverpool goal 9 days after signing when he scored in the 3-1 win over Arsenal.

That November he would score a memorable hattrick in the Champions League group stage as Liverpool hammered Atalanta 5-0. He was the first player since Robbie Fowler to score 7 goals in his first 10 games with Liverpool.

He would end his first season at Anfield with 13 goals from 30 appearances.

Raising his game to the next level

In his second season with Liverpool, the 2021/22 campaign, Jota really elevated his game to new heights.

He was slowly forcing his way into Liverpool's vaunted attack as the likes of Mane, Salah and Firmino were all at the peak of their powers. Even with that, Jota's ability to play wide or through the middle meant he was a vital weapon for Klopp and he made 55 appearances with 39 being starts.

He converted his penalty in both the 2022 League Cup and FA Cup shootouts that saw Liverpool do the domestic cup double.

He was quickly becoming known not only for his video game celebration, but his ruthless efficiency in front of goal.

Since coming to Liverpool, Jota has never needed a lot of chances to score. He always pops up at the right time in the right place for the best goal scoring chance.

Contract Extension and Beyond

The summer of 2022 saw Liverpool reward their Portuguese ace with a contract extension. At the time of signing, Jota was clearly over the moon.

"Well, [I'm] really proud, I have to say. Obviously since I arrived two years ago I established myself as an important player in this team -- that's what I wanted from the beginning."

With the departure of Sadio Mane for Bayern Munich and the arrival of one Darwin Nunez, the attack was beginning to change at Liverpool. However, Jota was still an important piece to the Reds machine.

While he does not have blistering pace, incredible size or strength, there are few forwards in top flight football that can offer what he can.

He is comfortable finishing with either foot or his head so there is not a position he cannot score from on the pitch.

Through his four seasons and counting with the club, Jota's XG at Liverpool is 44.4. He has scored 55 times in Red, highlighting his hyper-efficiency.

At 27, he is just now entering his prime and he is firmly established as a key Liverpool player and on the international level with Portugal. There are some pockets of fans and media that believe he should be a regular starter.

Whether the new incoming manager agrees remains to be seen. What is not up for debate is how important Diogo Jota has become at Liverpool.

From a nice player in the Championship with Wolves, to a certified world class finisher in one of the best sides in the world, Jota's rise has been rapid and shows no signs of slowing down.