InterviewDiogo Jota on Wolves return, goals targets and LFC anniversary
Liverpool are determined to pick up momentum at the first opportunity as they head to Molineux for a fixture that is ‘special’ to Diogo Jota.
Having accumulated 10 points from their four Premier League matches before the September international break, the Reds resume the season at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
The game sees Jota return to his former home, with the Portugal international – who netted twice for his country on Monday – moving from Wolves to Liverpool three years ago this month.
The No.20 sat down with Liverpoolfc.com at the AXA Training Centre to discuss the game, the campaign so far, the squad’s attacking options and his forthcoming anniversary.
Read the chat below…
How much do you think you’re benefiting from that full pre-season, which you didn’t get last year? And how much will it help you more as the weeks go on?
It gives me already at least a mind advantage because it is the second pre-season I’ve done with Liverpool. The first season I did it at Wolves. Then I had a good season when I scored a lot of goals, and that was when I did a pre-season. Last year I did not. Hopefully this year it leads back again and I can be on the scoresheet a lot more often.
You’ve mentioned already this season that the competition for places in attack is a good thing. Is it an exciting thing as well, because there’s so much firepower there, you must feel there’s possibilities moving forward?
Yeah, it’s massive for us. Now the games will start to come every three days again and we will need everybody. But I think it’s hard for the opponent when we are, whoever starts, giving his 100 per cent best; you get the defenders tired and then they look at the bench and there’s fresh players and quality players coming on. That’s frightening for anyone and we have that and we need to use that and to have the right mindset, because we know we will end up playing, either off the bench or starting. A lot of games now and hopefully we can win a lot of them.
Coming up this weekend it’s a trip to your former club at Molineux. What are you expecting from the game against Wolves?
A tough game obviously. There’s a lot of changes since I left already, there’s not many people left. But it’s always special to go back there to Molineux. Every time we go over there [it’s tough] – last year we lost, the year before we scored [in the] last minute. So I know and they know it’s not going to be easy, but we are ready to fight for the three points.
What are the emotions when you go back to an old club? Everyone always says you’ll want to ‘put one over’ them, but it must be more complex than that? You don’t wish them any ill but obviously you want to do your best for Liverpool on Saturday?
Yeah, I’m always supporting them and hoping they win their matches. I had close friends [there] until this season at least, when [Ruben] Neves left. I had good and bad moments already [at Molineux] since I left: I scored there just the year after, we won with my goal. Two years ago I missed a clear opportunity, it was not great. But yeah, it’s one more game now; I know it’s special but I try to get it out of my mind because in the end it’s just one more game of football.
Is improving away form something you’ve specifically set about doing as a team this season? Because it was something that hindered you at times last season…
It’s one of the things we needed to improve for sure. There was a lot of room for improvement this season and that was obviously one of them. At Anfield we could cope with our normal capacities but away it has been not great. And if you want to have a good season we need to play, I don’t say as good as, but close like we do at Anfield.
And you’ll want to pick up the momentum you had before the break at the first chance…
Yeah, start this new cycle straight away. We know there’s a month roughly of a lot of games before we have another break for international teams. A good start is always positive and that’s what we want to do.
Next week is the three-year anniversary of when you came to Liverpool. So much has happened since then but you must have a lot of targets and objectives you still want to achieve here?
Like I said, doing the pre-season is already a good step for this. I want to score a lot of goals and hopefully this season I can do that and kind of repeat what I did in my second year. It’s always nice to see people here trust me and give me a lot of minutes on the pitch – and I need to answer them in a positive way.