‘Call me a winter signing’

Diogo Jota hopes to be “like a winter signing” for Liverpool as the Portuguese attacker looks to make a big impression once again on Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The Portuguese forward made his first appearance of the year against Chelsea this week following over two months out with a knee injury.

While his appearance off the bench that night failed to prevent the Reds slipping to a fifth straight home defeat, Klopp will hope Jota’s return can breathe new life into Liverpool’s stuttering attack.

The deposed champions have scored just four times in their last six games and have lost a staggering eight times in their last 16 matches.

But Jota hopes to relieve some of the pressure on Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah and chip in with some vital goals.

Having scored nine times in 17 games before injury struck, Jota hopes he can make a similar impression.

“[I’m looking to bring] a new boost in terms of confidence and, let’s say like this, freshness,” he told the club’s official site.

“Because obviously they’ve been playing and fighting for the club [without me].

“I feel like I could be like a winter transfer. So that’s what I hope so they can rely on me and think I can help them in the future.”

Despite his failure to score, Jota says being back out on the pitch felt good.

“Obviously when you are out for so long it’s not easy to get back on track 100 percent straight away,” he admitted.

“But it was good, I played around 35 minutes and felt good. So I just need to keep training hard and with game time I think I’ll be at my best again very soon.”

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Klopp responds to claims big stars could leave Liverpool

Klopp, meanwhile, is adamant the absence of Champions League football at Liverpool next season would not lead to a mass exodus of their top stars.

The loss of Champions League football would mean the club take a significant financial hit on top of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

It could also affect the composition of the squad both in the transfer window and in terms of players who may want to leave.

Klopp, however, has firmly dismissed that prospect. Having sent a message to Mohamed Salah’s agent on Friday, he has also struck a hard line in terms of players for whom the Champions League was a priority.

“I know we have loyalty from the players. It is not a situation where a player in the squad says, ‘We are not in the Champions League so I have to leave’. That will not happen. I know them well enough to know that,” Klopp stated.

“The club is in a different situation and it will not be an issue with new players I can say that.

“We said it years back if a player does not want to come to us because we don’t play Champions League next season then I don’t want him.

“And if a player wants to leave because we don’t play Champions League then I don’t want him. It is not a personal thing, but it is always like this.

“You always need to find the right squad for the challenges you face. Then you go for it. It is nothing I worry about.”

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