Diogo Jota is looking to make up for lost time after frustration with his injury, and the Liverpool striker is determined to become a key man at the front.
The Portuguese international made his debut for the first time since May in a 2-1 Champions League win against Ajax after recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered in June but worsened ahead of the season.
He scored 34 goals in 88 appearances, which were sometimes in the top three.
The arrival of Luis Diaz in January gave him more time to play in the middle, but Darwin Nunez’s signing of a potential club record fee means Jota is facing competition in his two strongest positions, and missing the first six games of the season didn’t help.
However, he was selected ahead of Nunez and Roberto Firmino for a central role against the Dutch side and made the difference in the 66th minute when he was on the pitch.
“I couldn’t get things right before the season, but that’s all in the past,” he said. “Football is always a challenge between us to play matches, face different challenges.
“This is life and football and as players you have to respond to that and endure this challenge every day. There is always room for improvement. I want to become an important player here, and I can only do it when I’m in good shape.
When asked if it was frustrating to sit on the sidelines and watch the team struggle, he added, “Yes, even more so for me because I couldn’t help there.
“It’s always a lot more complicated when you look outside, but it’s a thing of the past now. I’m on the (team) right now and I could help and that was good. Everything is fine and ready. “
Jota is not the only one who has to adapt to the competition presented by his new teammates, and especially Diaz and Nunez have to come to terms with additional responsibilities after the sale of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in the summer.
“Of course Jurgen (Klopp) has quite strong ideas and not every team plays like us, so it takes time,” he said.
“He (Nunez) didn’t play too many games because he was apparently kicked off the field, but when you had Sadio who played for this team for a long time and was almost used to everything, it’s quite a big change.
“But I think if we play this way it will be easier for him and everyone, and the way we played (against Ajax) is a way of moving forward.”
Liverpool have been struggling for momentum this season now without a match until Brighton’s visit on October 1 due to a postponement of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.
But with such a long list of injuries – eight players are unavailable – it could prove to be a blessing in misfortune.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Jota added when asked that it was a source of frustration. “We have to do what the calendar tells us to do. Sometimes we have too many games, we talk a lot, and this time we’re on hiatus, so we take it as it is.
“You don’t have the momentum from the last game, but that’s the way it is.
“We were playing (against Ajax) and we had to do things right because we weren’t going to be playing for a long time so for that reason it was huge and we did our job.”