Harry Kewell says Jurgen Klopp targeting Diogo Jota for Liverpool this summer left him “surprised”.
But he admits the Portugal international has been one of the signings of the season, as he fits Liverpool’s style perfectly and keeps the previously impenetrable front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on their toes.
Liverpool parted with £35million to snap up Jota, with the transfer coming out of the blue.
The striker was expected to play a bit-part role this season; rotated with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi, but he’s made a genuine claim for a regular place in Liverpool’s starting XI.
Kewell, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Leeds vs Sheffield United, said of the signing: “When Klopp brought Diogo Jota in I was surprised, because I didn’t think anyone could break that front three for Liverpool.
“But I actually think he’s been one of the singings of the season; he’s fitted in perfectly. The way he plays suits Liverpool and he really hit the ground running when he joined.
“He was hit with an injury which hasn’t helped but he’s back fit and firing again now which is great.
“I think Thiago Alacantara is one of the best players in the world. People might disagree with that but I think he’s just trying a little bit too hard at the moment. His vision is brilliant, his distribution is excellent.
“He’s just got to adapt to the English way. Once he’s done that, Liverpool have got a phenomenal midfielder on their hands.
“When people say you need to have relationships with certain teammates in football – particularly in that midfield area – I do agree to some extent, but unfortunately we’re now playing in a time where games are coming thick and fast.
“It’s impossible to be able to have partnerships that can play together consistently. You can probably play a pairing for maybe 30 games in a season absolute maximum, hoping they both stay injury and suspension free.
“So you need at least four different options and connections in that midfield area, so it shouldn’t matter that Thiago hasn’t been able to play with Jordan Henderson as much as we’d have perhaps liked to have seen this season.
“Liverpool do have those connections I talk about, but it’s just that people want to see the same players alongside each other week-in, week-out, and I just don’t think you can do that in this day and age.”