Luis Diaz joined Liverpool from Porto in a surprise move at the tail end of the January transfer window. It’s three weeks into February, and it’s already clear how much value he brings to the team.
In fact, in his press conference in preparation for the game against Leeds United, manager Jürgen Klopp admitted that he didn’t need to change much about his game to fit Liverpool’s style of play.
Klopp said that while they would usually debrief a player about the role he’s expected to play, but that “if the player’s natural way to play is very close to what we do, he only gets a few [bits of] information. For us, it means the way he has to defend, that’s really important because that’s definitely different to Porto. His offensive movements they are really naturally like they are now.”
Diaz has shown himself capable of working alongside several variations of Liverpool’s front three in the few games he’s played. Klopp clearly had that in mind when they worked to secure Diaz’s services.
“We wanted the player because we saw him playing and we saw it was easy to fit him in with all the things he is doing,” Klopp said. “He is a really talented player with an incredible work-rate on top of that, so we didn’t speak a word to him about counter-press. I am pretty sure he knows it anyway, but you can see he is really in it, full throttle and when you watch our team in a good game a couple of times and you want to be part of it then that’s the obvious thing – and if you don’t do that, you will hear the coach pretty heavily all the time and you don’t want to have that, so you just do it.”
While not every transfer in the Klopp era has been a success, it does feel like the manager has a strong vision of what he looks for in a player and also a keen eye for talent. Diaz is his most recent victory, at least in these early days. If he keeps playing well, it could make a huge difference in Liverpool’s season as they continue to fight on all four fronts.