Liverpool set to steal Luis Diaz deal from under Tottenham's nose
Luis Diaz is expected to join Liverpool in a £37.5 million deal (PHOTO: Getty Images/Pedro Vilela) 

Liverpool have gazumped Tottenham to seal a deal for FC Porto's 25-year-old winger Luis Diaz. The Reds were happy to wait until the summer to sign the Colombian, however, Spurs' interest forced a change of plans and they have pulled the trigger on the £37.5 million man. 

  • Who is Luis Diaz? 

Diaz is primarily a goal-scoring left winger, he has 14 goals and five assists in 18 matches in Liga NOS and two in six Champions League games. 

However, he can operate across the front line, and this versatility is a key attribute for an attacker in Jurgen Klopp's team. 

A quick and direct dribbler, only four players have completed more dribbles in the Champions League than Diaz (17), whilst Liverpool's highest is Mo Salah (13). 

The Colombian likes to cut inside on his right-foot and terrorise defenders with his speed and trickery. 

The top goalscorer at the Copa America last summer, he scored a stunning overhead kick in the group stages versus Brazil

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And Liverpool's Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson praised the winger before a World Cup qualifier between the sides in November: 

“Luis Diaz is an excellent player, he does a lot of work for the defence, he did it in the goals of Copa America,” he said.

  • Will he adapt to English football?

All the evidence that we have available so far suggests that he will. 

With two seasons of Champions League football under his belt, the Colombian has adapted well with four goals in 15 games. 

The pick of the bunch came at the Etihad against Manchester City in the 2020/21 Group Stages.

 

He picked the ball up just inside City's half, glided across the pitch with no resistance before driving the ball across Ederson into the bottom left corner.

Then against Liverpool in this seasons' Group Stages, he was the only real shining light for the Dragons in a 5-1 defeat.  

He also scored in a 1-0 win and a 1-1 draw against AC Milan to give Porto a chance of qualification to the knock-out stages. 

At 25, Diaz fits the criteria for a Liverpool signing under FSG and the Reds would not be making their move if they did not think he was mature enough to handle the step-up. 

How does he compared to Liverpool's front three?

 

Diaz adds significant depth to an already superb front three at Liverpool. Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota (who seems to have taken Roberto Firmino's place). 

Liverpool seem to have certain metrics that they use to judge potential attacking signings on, and Diaz ranks similarly to all three players on his goals, shots attempted and touches in the opposition box before their moves to Anfield. (league only, per 90). 

The Colombian scores 0.43 goals (compared to Salah's 0.48, Mané's 0.39 and Jota's 0.29), attempts 2.46 shots (Mané 2.74, Salah 2.6 and Jota 2.16) and has 4.34 touches the ball in the opposition box (Salah 5.2, Mané 4.22, Jota 4.03)

Whilst it is not guaranteed, those metrics usually scale up in Liverpool's system to produce devastating attacking players. 

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Salah, Mané and Firmino are entering the last 18 months of their contracts, and it is becoming increasingly unlikely that all three will still be at Anfield in 2024. 

Much has been reported on the Salah situation and Klopp expects it to be done eventually but there has been little to no information on Mané and Firmino. 

That would suggest that the long-term succession plan is to keep Salah on the right, with Diaz on the left and Jota through the middle. 

  • The Verdict

Whatever happens with the front three, it is an exciting signing and puts the Reds in a position to kick-on and challenge on multiple fronts, whilst also showing that they have a long-term succession plan. Something which should ease the mind of many sceptical supporters.

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