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Diogo Jota shows why he was missed in RB Leipzig win

Diogo Jota has been absent for a large part of the season for Liverpool, but now he's back, he's showing Klopp exactly what he's been missing.

Diogo Jota was one of many standout performers as Liverpool beat RB Leipzig to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.

With Roberto Firmino missing through injury, Jota grabbed his chance with both hands with a solid performance and getting an assist.

It was a timely reminder that the number 20 has plenty to offer for the remainder of the season.

Not only does his return to fitness fill a gap left by Firmino, but it also provides more competition for the Brazilian.

Diogo Jota says he can be "like a January signing"

Diogo Jota says he can be "like a January signing"

Jota back with a bang

Jota was full of energy, tenacity, threat and intent in Budapest as he made his Champions League comeback.

He had a bullet header saved by Peter Gulacsi and regularly got into space behind Leipzig defenders.

Diogo Jota had a number of other good chances too, but couldn’t quite find his shooting boots.

His pace and trickery caused their defenders problems all game, and his pressing game meant he was a constant thorn in their side.

And it paid dividends, as a flowing team move with Jota heavily involved and assisting Salah for the opening goal.

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It was a superb performance and one that firmly stakes a claim for a starting place against his former side Wolves next week.

It also gives fans reassurance that the recently ailing Firmino has a more than able deputy once more.

Fading Firmino?

There has been much criticism of Firmino’s performances lately, with many noting he’s looked tired, lacked sharpness and, crucially, goal threat.

Jota has been missing since December with a knee problem which has meant competition for Firmino’s place has been limited.

The likes of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri aren’t setting the world alight and clearly aren’t impressing Jurgen Klopp.

Therefore the reliance on Firmino has been arguably more tangible than ever, especially given Liverpool’s injury concerns this season.

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Having Jota available again could serve as a tonic to remedy Firmino’s struggles, as it did earlier in the season.

Roberto Firmino has struggled in Jota's absence. 

Roberto Firmino has struggled in Jota's absence. 

It seems that Jota’s arrival seemed to serve as motivation to Firmino to play some of his best football.

Maybe it was the threat of having his place in the starting XI taken away from him that did this?

Maybe it was Jota’s influence on the training pitch that force Firmino to up his game?

No matter what it was, it seemed to bring the best out of both players, which was a blessing for Liverpool.

Future is in safe hands

However, one question it does pose, particularly for Bobby, is the longevity of his role in this Liverpool side.

He is now 29, with Jota five years his junior, and as touted by many, he could be heading to the end of his prime years.

It is only natural that players surpass their best years, but Firmino’s steady decline this season does ring alarm bells.

That is why Jota’s rapid emergence as a star in this Liverpool team is so important for the squad.

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He looks ready and able to not just take over from Firmino, but almost provide an upgrade.

Jota is making runs Firmino doesn’t at present and plays with an intensity we’re seeing less often from Bobby.

It’s an interesting predicament, but it is good to know that the future seems in safe hands with Jota.

While he isn’t a like for like replacement, he’s a good fit and actually freshens things up for Klopp which is no bad thing.

That lack of spontaneity has been huge for Liverpool this season, but you already feel that’s coming back with Jota’s reintroduction.

While watching one of our front three fade from the limelight will be tough, the day was always going to come.

But as I mentioned, at least in Jota there is more than enough hope for the future.