Diogo Jota is making a Mohamed Salah-esque impact at Liverpool, says John Aldridge, with the Portuguese’s form meaning questions can be asked of what happens when the Egyptian superstar is ready for a recall.
The Reds have seen the most prolific presence in their squad ruled out on the back of a positive Covid-19 test.
Salah contracted coronavirus during the November international break, meaning that he could play no part in a Premier League clash with Leicester.
Jota stepped up again during that contest, registering his eighth goal for the Reds in just 12 appearances, while Roberto Firmino was also back on target during a testing time for the Brazilian.
It has been suggested that Liverpool look more fluid when Salah is not in their side, despite the obvious qualities that he adds, and Jurgen Klopp is facing more welcome selection headaches.
Aldridge has told the Liverpool Echo of those: “What do you do when Salah comes back in?
“It’s going to be tough but it’s a great position for the manager to be in with the four attacking players.
“It was great for Roberto Firmino to score at Anfield because it seemed like the world was against him. Out of what was the established front three, his place had to be the most at risk, you have to say that.
“They’ll all be fighting for their place now and it’s a nice headache for the manager to have but now you simply can’t keep Jota out of the team.
“He’s had such a big impact, it’s similar to Salah when he first came to the club.
“He’s hungry, he’s got the desire. Jota knows how good the front three are and he wants to be better than them.
“Jota’s doing things he wasn’t doing before at Wolves. He’s at a bigger club, he’s in the limelight more and his game for Portugal is getting better.
“He’s hitting all the right notes.”
Jota’s impact at Anfield on the back of a £45 million ($60m) summer transfer certainly is comparable to the one Salah made after joining the Reds from Roma in 2017.
The Egyptian plundered six goals through his first 12 appearances and has gone on to find the target 104 times across 165 outings.
Emulating those efforts is the challenge now facing Jota, with it up to the 23-year-old to prove that he is deserving of a regular role in what has been a settled attacking unit for Liverpool.