Thursday, September 23, 2021

Jota relishing his first taste of playing at a ´full Anfield´ this season

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Jul 2021

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Liverpool forward Diogo Jota hopes it is only a matter of time before he can experience playing in front of a full capacity crowd at Anfield for the first time.

The 24-year-old is gearing up for his second season with the Reds after joining from Wolves in September 2020.

Although playing to an empty Kop for almost the entirety of 2020-21, Jota made a blistering start to life on Merseyside with seven goals in his opening 10 appearances, making him the first Liverpool player to achieve that feat since Robbie Fowler in 1993.

The Portugal international, who represented his nation at Euro 2020, would go on to find the net 13 times for Jurgen Klopp’s side in all competitions – a tally only bettered by Mohamed Salah (31) and Sadio Mane (16).

That goals return was all the more impressive considering he missed three months of his maiden campaign with a knee injury sustained during the Champions League clash with Midtjylland in December.

Upon his return to action, Jota sampled playing in front of a reduced Anfield crowd as spectators were gradually reintegrated towards the end of the season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

And having also played to increased attendances during the European Championship last month, he is hopeful that stadiums in England will return to full capacity before too long. 

“I’m still really looking forward to playing at a full Anfield,” he told the club’s official website. “Hopefully, that can happen this season.

“Of course, when you get good things with a crowd there, it’s always more positive.

“I feel like we missed this in England and every part of the world, and we are getting that back slowly.”

During that flying start, Jota also became the first Liverpool player to score in each of his first four Premier League matches on home soil.

He was disappointed that the injury stalled his momentum and prevented him from adding more goals.

Nevertheless, he is excited to put that behind him and move forward into the new season, where Liverpool are aiming to improve on last year’s third-place finish as defending champions.

“It’s not positive to start thinking about bad things,” he added. “It happened, it’s gone now.

“Obviously, if you’re going to say to me at the beginning 13 goals, maybe I would agree. But after that beginning, maybe you expect some more.

“It’s a new season and a new start. I’m ready and the team will be ready for that as well.

“Last season wasn’t very good for us – we still finished third, but it’s not what we want. We want to go and give a proper fight for the title.”

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