Rio Ferdinand says Diogo Jota’s move to Liverpool has helped the forward thrive more than he did at Wolves because he has been forced to “raise the bar”.
Jota smashed in an impressive hat-trick for his new side in the 5-0 win over Atalanta on Tuesday to take his tally to seven goals in 10 appearances – only five of which have been as a starter.
By contrast, Jota netted 16 times for Wolves in 50 appearances last season, and already looks on course to eclipse that figure based on current form.
His performances have even put pressure on the Reds’ current front three for selection, and Ferdinand feels it is a direct result of Liverpool’s fast, fearsome style.
He told BT Sport : “Jota was at Wolves last season, do they play as quick and as aggressive in the way they do at Liverpool.
“And in that I mean in tight spaces, in training especially is where you build your confidence, the balls are coming in at a different pace.
“Different angles, bringing it down, one touch – everything is quicker.”
Jota’s three goals in the Champions League victory were a prime example of the 23-year-old’s quick-thinking in front of goal.
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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For his opener, the Portuguese star bent his run in behind Atalanta’s defence before holding off a defender and clipping a delicate chip over the goalkeeper to score.
Shortly after, Jota took one touch to bring Joe Gomez’s long ball down, before using his second to fire a quick shot inside the near post.
He completed his treble just 10 minutes into the second half, using his blistering pace to latch on to an exquisite Sadio Mane pass, before rolling the ball round the keeper and passing into the empty net.
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The breathtaking start to life at Liverpool from Jota has now pushed him ahead of fringe stars Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi in the club pecking order already.
Ferdinand added: “Sometimes, even at [Manchester] United when we were flying, you would get players who would come in and think it’s taken them six months to get up to speed.
“Now today I don’t know if players get afford six months. Because by the time six months comes they’ve bought someone else in.
“It can be difficult. You’ve got to have the quality to raise the bar.”