Klopp insists Jota ‘has become a world-class striker’ after his brace against Arsenal. – After world

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Diogo Jota “has become a real world-class striker” after his brace against Arsenal.

After a goalless first leg at Anfield last week, Jota’s daisy cutter caught Aaron Ramsdale wrong-footed in the first half and he then saw a VAR check rule in the second half when he was on the side after a smart finish Liverpool won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

To round off a miserable evening for Arsenal, Thomas Partey – who had just returned from the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the day – was sent off just 16 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

The enigmatic Arsenal are caught flat-footed by Diogo Jota & Liverpool

It means Klopp’s Reds are traveling to Wembley where they meet Chelsea on February 27 after Jota stole the show in north London.

“We scored two wonderful goals, Diogo Jota was on fire,” he said.

“We were absolutely convinced when he arrived at the club that he would help us massively. Since he’s here he’s taken another step, he’s developed into a real world-class striker.

“Mentality mixed with quality is why we signed him.

“Obviously he scored two goals, he’s incredibly important to us, so it’s that mix of skills that’s really exciting. He is also in good shape and may it stay that way for a long time to come.”

Liverpool will aim to win a record ninth League Cup when they meet Chelsea in their first final appearance in six years.

Before, Liverpool have six games in three other competitions and Klopp will not be distracted by the Wembley appointment.

“You’re playing a final, it’s likely you’re going to play against a super strong team and that’s what we’re doing now,” added Klopp.

“Wembley is a special place, we still have a lot of games ahead of us. We’ll see where we are then, but we really put a lot of effort into this competition and we were dying to get through, and when you’re in the finals there’s no reason to be a part of the finals if you don’t want to be to win.

“If we’re there at the end of February, we’ll try, but the opponent probably will too.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room is overjoyed. Tough game, tough time, but the lads were exceptional. Arsenal started lively in the first half, then we calmed down, played good football and created a lot. Second half similar.”

This stage was initially set to be the first of the game but was postponed following a spate of positive coronavirus cases in Liverpool, while Arsenal successfully requested Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham be canceled.

That game was in doubt but went as planned and Arsenal were able to welcome back a number of players who would not have been available at Spurs.

The hosts started brilliantly, Alexandre Lacazette hitting the bar with a free kick within the first five minutes.

But that was best for the Gunners as Mikel Arteta lamented another red card – the 14th of his tenure at Arsenal – when Partey was sent off for two cautions in quick succession.

“I’m very disappointed because when you have the final there, a game away, you’re already excited and really looking forward to it,” said Klopp.

“We did everything we could to create a competitive side and I think we had our moments playing against a top team.

“Of course it (the red card) is a big loss again and we have to learn from it. We’ve played the last three games with 10 men and you can’t do that against these top teams because you’re completely exposed.

“It’s difficult enough to beat them and with 10 men it becomes a real challenge and with the amount of players it’s certainly not what we need not to have him.”


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