In-form Diogo Jota has moved “well ahead” of Takumi Minamino in the pecking order at Liverpool, says Ray Houghton, with the Portuguese matching a Robbie Fowler scoring record on his latest outing.
The summer signing from Wolves has made an immediate impact at Anfield, with an instant return being offered on the Reds’ £45 million ($58m) show of faith.
Jota already has a Champions League hat-trick to his name, with nine goals in total recorded through just 14 appearances.
The most recent of those came in a 1-1 draw at Brighton, with the 23-year-old opening the scoring at the Amex Stadium before late drama pegged Jurgen Klopp’s side back.
Jota now has five Premier League goals for Liverpool to his name, with that mark hit through his first eight league appearances for the Reds.
Fowler is the only player to have matched that return for the Reds, with considerable value being found in one attacking addition while January arrival Minamino still waits on a spark.
“Jota’s gone well ahead of him now,” Liverpool legend Houghton told talkSPORT.
“Jota’s little one-two with Salah, the movement and the finish, it was exquisite. The way he goes past defenders is incredible.”
Minamino has figured in 18 of Liverpool’s last 25 games, but he rarely sees more than 45 minutes for the Reds and is yet to make the impact expected of him on Merseyside.
He is a different kind of player to Jota, with his game more about hard work and creativity than end product, but fierce competition for places is not going to make life any easier for him.
Houghton added: “With Minamino, when you come into a team you’ve got to hit the ground running, so for an attacking player like him that means either creating goals or scoring goals.
“If you haven’t done either, then that’s where the manager says, 'I’ve got other players who can do that and are probably more effective'. That’s why his time has been limited in a Liverpool shirt.
“Having watched him prior to coming here, I thought he was better playing a little bit higher up the field, whereas at the moment he’s been employed in a deeper role, he’s playing in a midfield three.”