Diogo Jota feels Liverpool will provide him with the perfect platform to take his game onto the next level after he completed his transfer from Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
The forward signed a long-term deal with the Reds to become the club’s third incoming transfer of the window, joining Kostas Tsimikas and Thiago Alcantara.
At 23, Jota knows he still has plenty of room to develop and enhance his talents – and he is confident Anfield will prove the ideal place to do so.
Moments after signing his contract, Jota sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for an exclusive interview to discuss the move.
Watch the interview in full on LFCTV GO now, or scroll down to read a full transcript...
Diogo, firstly, welcome to Liverpool Football Club. Can you describe how you’re feeling today?
Thank you. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family. All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool – the world champions – is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.
What have the last few days been like as the move drew closer?
I just wanted the deal to get done. Obviously people started to talk about that and I received a lot of messages. We were trying to get this done because obviously we want to sign the contract – that’s the big moment – and to start training with my teammates as well.
What made the challenge of Liverpool so attractive to you and your family?
It is one of the best teams in the world – the best at the moment because they are world champions. When you look at the Premier League, you always see Liverpool as one of the biggest teams in the country, so it’s impossible to say no. So we just want to come [here], to give our best and hopefully I can become a good option for Liverpool in the future.
Why is this the right move for you now at this stage of your career?
Well, I have played two years in the Premier League now with Wolverhampton [Wanderers] so now I just feel like it is a good moment to come here, to play Champions League again. It is massive for me but I think I am ready for this new chapter.
Do you feel ready to compete and to fight for a place?
Yeah, sure. Obviously I will need to know my teammates, but they will know me as a player that is a team player, so I will always try to help them the best I can. They can count on me in the future and I think we can do great things here.
You’re still only 23. When you were thinking about coming here, did you believe this was the right place to take your game to the next level?
I think so, but the most important thing is trying to know the manager and his style of play. I think this is the right one. Jürgen, I think, is a fantastic coach. I looked at him when I was a kid and he was already playing in Champions League finals, so I’ve known him for a long time – not personally, but now I will. I think it is the right manager for me and at this stage of my career and I think it is a good – and the right – step.
Are you coming here, then, believing there is still a lot more to come from you, a lot of room for improvement?
Yes, of course. We as players always want to grow and develop into a better status – and that’s what I want. I want to grow here and I believe this is the right club.
There’ve been four really tight games between Liverpool and Wolves over the past two seasons. What did you learn about Liverpool in them?
Just [that] they are a special team; the way they press, the intensity that they put into the game is just another level and that’s what I want to be part of – that anger to play the game and to score goals. I think that’s a great way to play the game and that’s the way I want to play as well.
Is it a bit of a relief knowing the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker are on your side now…
Yeah, we are talking about world-class players – the best in their positions – so it is good to be a part of their team now and we can face other opponents. In the end, all of the team is important and I want to be one more player to help.
Watching Liverpool last season as an opposition player, what did you think of the manner in which we won the league?
I think there was no doubt – no doubt about Liverpool being the best team in the league last season by some distance. I think, as I said before, the intensity they put into the game… they were just unbelievable. They were all over the place. It felt like they were playing with more players than the other teams. Hopefully we can do the same again this year with me being a part of it.
What was it like to come here, to come to Anfield, as an opponent?
Well, again, I think by some distance it is the best stadium and the best environment. I think it is really noisy and the song You’ll Never Walk Alone is always on the opponent’s mind. Now I am part of it. Obviously this situation with COVID it won’t be for now, but I hope soon I can be here listening to the fans with a full Anfield.
Has it sunk in… that Anfield is now your home?
Well, it is now! Like I said, I just wish we could have the stadium full for my debut as that would be very special, but OK, it will still be special. And we can have them [the fans] later in the season to help us onto good things.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are already here. How much are you looking forward to working alongside them, but also maybe learning from them too?
They are world-class players. Every match, they try to win. They score a lot of goals and they work together. I want to be one more piece to join that three. That’s what I will do. They are obviously more experienced than me, so the first stage is to connect with them, to learn with them. Hopefully I can be a good help for them and the club to win games.
Do you think your versatility will help in terms of getting into the team?
I think every manager looks at that and we as players know that being versatile, playing in different positions, is always useful. I am ready to play in each position that the manager wants. That’s what I will try to do – give my best every single day.
You mentioned earlier about the way Liverpool press teams. You’re a player who likes to press… will that help you adjust more quickly here?
Yes, I think that’s why I feel it is the right moment to come here with this manager because I think his style of play can adapt to mine as well. Hopefully I can be part of his plans in the future.
You scored your first goal for Portugal a couple of weeks ago and now you’re joining the Premier League champions. Not a bad start to the season…
Wow… no! Everything is happening quickly, everything is going terrific and I am just enjoying it at the moment and I am ready to give my best.
And there’s a baby on the way, too…
Yes, yes. 2020 started, I wouldn’t say bad but with different circumstances – the COVID situation and all of this stuff. But now it is becoming the best year of my life.
Your little boy can be raised as a Scouser…
Yeah! I think it will happen! Being born here, he will be a Scouser!
You’re taking the squad number 20. Was there any particular significance behind that?
No, not really. Obviously coming here when the season is already under way is not always what we want, but I think it’s a good number and hopefully I can do good things with it.
You spoke earlier about working with the coach; just how much are you looking forward to working with Jürgen Klopp?
A lot, a lot. I am anxious to get started, I am anxious to learn new things, because the sooner I start, the sooner I can give results to the team and that is the most important [thing].
Have you had a chance to speak to him since the deal was done?
Yes, once or twice. I believe he is the right coach for me and I just want to see things happen now.
You played with a guy at Wolves who came through the ranks here, in Conor Coady. Have you had the opportunity to speak with him about the move?
No, not really, but I think I will today or tomorrow. I know for a fact this is his childhood club, so I know he will want to tell me some things and I will talk about that with him just after this announcement is done.
For the supporters watching this, what can Liverpool fans expect from you?
Like I said, I think I am a team player. I play up front and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me – that I will always do my best. I will always try to help the team in the best way possible.
Is that your message to the supporters today?
Yes, that’s it. They can count on me because now I am one of them and I will give my best.