Diogo Jota was always going to be the man of the moment at Molineux on Monday evening. But isn’t it great when the players in the spotlight actually deliver?
For long spells in the first half it seemed like Liverpool‘s trip to the West Midlands was going to be another damaging one. The early part of their performance was dotted with moments of shakey defending, while the profligacy that had seen them convert just 3% of their last 70 shots was apparent once again as Sadio Mane spurned two good chances before the break.
But this time they actually found a breakthrough, and it came in style. Rui Patricio had plenty to answer for with his role, but the build-up was Liverpool at their best, sweeping across from the right with each of the front three involved.
Naturally, it was Jota who got the killer touch, taking advantage of the space vacated by Mane’s inverted run to score for the first time since getting injured in December.
Who did he pick that injury up against? Wolves. The narrative thickens.
Roberto Firmino’s injury, which has sidelined the out-of-form Brazilian for three games now, has been a blow to Liverpool. But his absence has dovetailed perfectly with Jota’s return to prominence.
Just as he did after his arrival in the summer, the Portuguese has slotted seamlessly into the forward line, injecting it with an energy and dexterity that it otherwise lacks.
On Monday he was notably flexible with his position, leading the line for the most part but switching places with Mohamed Salah and Mane on the regular. That left the Wolves back three snatching at thin air, with Roman Saiss in particular unsure who to mark for the best.
We should be under no illusions that it was not a vintage performance from anyone in a red shirt. The goal was one of a handful of moments of real quality in a pretty poor game, but it was nonetheless a relief for Jurgen Klopp to see his team grind out a result at one of the more menacing venues in the Premier League.
With the international break on the horizon, it was a satisfying way for Liverpool to put a full stop on three months of abject misery.
The fact that it came through the returning Jota, in such a poetic manner at his old haunt, makes it just a little bit sweeter.