Liverpool continue to count themselves lucky that Luis Diaz is on their side and not Tottenham’s after deciding to sign the winger in January. The Colombia international signed for the Reds on a long-term contract after a deal worth an initial £37million, rising to £49m, was agreed with Porto.
Anfield got a glimpse of the 25-year-old’s talents when he scored a delightful goal in the 3-1 win over Norwich City, dinking the ball over goalkeeper Tim Krul.
His second goal, the opener in the 2-0 win over Brighton, pointed to another side of his game. Diaz, for all of his trickery and agility, seems to have a sense of valiance in his play and that shone through in his nasty collision with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez for the opener.
Jurgen Klopp singled out the former for praise and underlined why Liverpool sought to add another highly-rated attacker to their ranks.
“He is a very good player and it helps we have players who can speak Spanish and Portuguese, they have taken him under his wing,” he said after the game.
“As a player, when we were looking at him, the way he played [at Porto] is exactly the way we wanted him to play here.
Indeed, it appeared that Spurs were keen on closing a deal for Diaz in January after Fabio Paratici lodged an offer for the forward on Antonio Conte’s instructions.
It had been widely speculated that Liverpool were keeping tabs on his situation ahead of a potential summer switch.
But after Spurs made their move, Liverpool’s plans were left in tatters — and they were forced into making a last-gasp bid to avoid missing out.
And as the season goes on, it could prove to be a moment that ends up deciding which part of the north west the Premier League title heads to in May.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher suggested on Saturday that Spurs were the ones who helped push Diaz towards Anfield with a tongue-in-cheek remark, “thanking” chairman Daniel Levy for convincing his club to make an offer.
And there is some logic to the argument. Man City did not feel the urge to strengthen their squad in January despite Pep Guardiola operating without a striker this season.
However, Liverpool have become even stronger with Diaz’s arrival, to the extent that if Klopp loses Salah, Jota or Sadio Mane to injury, he has an adequate replacement now in Diaz.
Likewise, if Salah continues to reject a new contract as it was recently reported, Liverpool have a long-term replacement already in their arsenal.
The winger has injected pace and direct movement into the attack, and every performance he has produced for Liverpool so far has been lauded by fans and pundits alike.
In scoring against Brighton, a team that have proved difficult to break down at times this season, he handed Liverpool a lifeline in their attempts to chase down Man City, with the champions only three points clear at the top.
Liverpool are also chasing an unprecedented quadruple, having already claimed the Carabao Cup after beating Chelsea in a penalty shootout last month.
And with Diaz at the top of his game, their chances of pulling off the unthinkable are only going to improve.
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