SEVILLE, SPAIN - JUNE 27: Diogo Jota of Portugal battles for possession with Thomas Meunier of Belgium during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Belgium and Portugal at Estadio La Cartuja on June 27, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde - UEFA)

Diogo Jota reveals why he asked to be subbed off for Portugal

Diogo Jota has revealed that he asked to be brought off during Portugal’s 1-0 loss to Spain, with his explanation potentially good news for Liverpool.

Having suffered a recurrence of an existing injury during pre-season, Jota’s campaign has only just got off the ground this month.

The No. 20 returned for Liverpool in the 0-0 draw with Everton, before his assisting on his third outing and first start of the season in the 2-1 win over Ajax.

Proving his fitness, Jota was included in Fernando Santos’ Portugal squad to play two UEFA Nations League ties as a warmup for the World Cup, and he came off the bench to score against the Czech Republic on Saturday.

But after starting against Spain on Tuesday night, the striker surprised his manager by asking to be substituted midway through the second half.

Vitinha took his place with 79 minutes on the clock, with Santos telling journalists after the game that it “wasn’t a substitution I was planning to make.”

Explaining his decision afterwards, as quoted by O Jogo, Jota suggested he still needs time to build up his fitness.

“I didn’t have a pre-season,” he said.

“It’s only my second game as a start this season, and I was already feeling a little tired at the end of the season.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 13, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (C) celebrates with team-mate Diogo Jota (R) after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Santos insisted that there was no issue with Jota requesting his early exit, with the player himself clearly cautious when it comes to reinjury.

That will no doubt be informed by the time lost already this season with Liverpool, and the increased competition for places he is facing in Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino.

Jota caught the eye leading the line against Ajax, and it can be argued that, on current form, he should be seen as the first-choice striker within Jurgen Klopp‘s squad.

Managing his minutes with Portugal should stand Jota in good stead when it comes to a busy October at club level, with Liverpool due to play nine times next month.