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Bjornebye

Welcome to Liverpool Luis Diaz

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1 hour ago, Bjornebye said:

Colombian as well so he’ll feel right at home in Kirkby. 

Fuck off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, you're probably right.

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I like the fact that he came from the Columbian league before moving to Porto. Salah came through in Egypt. Mane moved to France in search of becoming a professional player. Suarez got noticed playing street football in Uruguay. There's something to be said about a player with that poverty mindset. The system in their home country wasn't set up for them to be a star, and yet they succeeded in spite of it. There's a certain intensity to a player like that which has mostly served us well. 

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Late bloomer as well isn't he, only having his breakout season at 25. Something else we seem to look for - Salah, Van Dijk, Firmino, all seemed to reach their full potential a little later than most.

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3 hours ago, El Rojo said:

With the lads returning from Africa, this signing and Elliott and Thiago, we’ll have a ridiculous squad in a week or two. 

Two excellent goalkeepers. 

 

Five (or four, if Nat goes) top, top quality centre backs.

 

Two excellent left backs. 

 

The world's greatest right back and a decent enough backup... 

 

Fab, Hendo, Keita, Thiago, Millie, Ox, Jones, Morton... Take your pick. 

 

Up front... We're ready to listen to your terms of surrender.

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9 minutes ago, AngryOfTuebrook said:

Two excellent goalkeepers. 

 

Five (or four, if Nat goes) top, top quality centre backs.

 

Two excellent left backs. 

 

The world's greatest right back and a decent enough backup... 

 

Fab, Hendo, Keita, Thiago, Millie, Ox, Morton... Take your pick. 

 

Up front... We're ready to listen to your terms of surrender.

Curtis Jones is fuming that Morton gets a mention and he doesn’t, especially as he’s a much better prospect.

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4 minutes ago, El Dangerous said:

Curtis Jones is fuming that Morton gets a mention and he doesn’t, especially as he’s a much better prospect.

Fuck! I knew I was forgetting someone. I love Curtis, too 

 

Edited to include him now.

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5 minutes ago, AngryOfTuebrook said:

Fuck! I knew I was forgetting someone. I love Curtis, too 

 

Edited to include him now.

I usually forget Keita in those lists. 

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Looking at the YouTube videos of him he looks like he can cause chaos on the left and with mo doing the same on the right it's looking good. Unfortunately he plays where Sadio is, could this be the end for Sadio! Hopefully not. 

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52 minutes ago, AngryOfTuebrook said:

 


We’re not Colombian, we’re La Guajiraian…

 

Doesnt scan as well as we’re not English, we are Scouse.

 

Anyway, his face is still really punchable.

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Luis Diaz: Why Liverpool pounced, what he’ll bring, his signature move and the ‘Noodle’ nickname

 

Liverpool were going to sit tight until the summer before adding to their attacking options.

 

Luis Diaz has long been on their radar but the Colombia international’s release clause of €80 million (£66.6 million) was viewed as prohibitive.

 

“Not on the agenda for January, not at that price,” a senior club source told The Athletic a few weeks ago.

 

However, with Monday’s 11pm GMT deadline fast approaching, plans changed after it emerged Porto were willing to significantly reduce their demands and Premier League rivals Tottenham were trying to secure his signature.

 

It was effectively now or never and Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group sanctioned the move.

 

Deputy sporting director Julian Ward, who will take over from Michael Edwards this summer, led the negotiations that resulted in a €60 million (£50 million) deal being agreed. Liverpool will pay around €45 million (£37.5 million) initially with a further €15 million (£12.5 million) to potentially follow in add-ons. Ward has a strong network of contacts in Portugal, having previously worked for their national team as head of analysis and technical scouting before later becoming Liverpool’s scouting manager for Spain and Portugal.

 

With Diaz away on international duty, a medical is likely to take place in Argentina this weekend before a long-term contract is signed.

 

The 25-year-old left-sided attacker is enjoying an outstanding season with Porto, scoring 14 goals and providing five assists in 18 league games. In all competitions this term, he has netted 16 times in 28 appearances. Manager Jurgen Klopp was already an admirer but Diaz further enhanced his reputation with his performances against Liverpool in the Champions League group stage.

 

The deal represents a show of ambition and an exciting addition of firepower to a squad still competing on four fronts this season.

 

So, who is Luis Diaz? Is he ready to light up the Premier League? And what does his arrival mean for Klopp’s other forwards?

 

*

 

Born in the town of Barrancas in the north of Colombia, Diaz caught the eye of scouts with his performances in the Indigenous Copa America in Chile in 2015. He grew up as part of the Wayuu, an ethnic group of the Guajira Peninsula, which juts out into the southern Caribbean. Diaz was coached at the tournament by former Colombia international Carlos Valderrama.

 

A successful trial with Atletico Junior in the nearby city of Barranquilla followed and after signing he was sent to their feeder club, Barranquilla FC, in the country’s second tier.

 

Those who knew him then recall a boy who was “ridiculously skinny”. He was suffering from malnutrition and was put on a special plan to help him gain 10 kilos.

 

“Most of the Colombian players come from very poor backgrounds and Diaz’s story is no different,” Colombian football journalist Juan Felipe Sierra tells The Athletic.

 

“He was born in one of the poorest regions of the country, La Guajira, where kids die of starvation and access to clean water is scarce. Luis was so thin as a kid that he was nicknamed ‘fideo’ (noodle).”

 

Slowly he bulked up and was handed his senior debut against Deportivo Pereira in April 2016. Club tradition meant the occasion was marked by team-mates shaving off the teenager’s hair. He was less than impressed with the outcome.

 

After two seasons with Barranquilla, things really took off when Diaz became a permanent fixture in the senior squad at parent club Junior in 2017.

 

A fearless winger blessed with pace, he handled the step up seamlessly. Over the next three seasons, he scored 20 goals in 80 games for the top-flight outfit.

 

Brighton were alerted to the possibility of being able to sign him for £3 million in 2017, shortly after he made the switch to Junior. The Premier League club had close ties with Belgian outfit Antwerp, which would have helped them find a home for him while they waited to try to obtain a work permit. However, a deal failed to materialise.

 

After shining for Colombia at under-20s level, Diaz earned his first senior cap against Argentina in September 2018.

 

He now boasts seven goals in 31 games for his country. He was the joint top scorer with Lionel Messi, with four goals, in last summer’s Copa America when Colombia finished third.

 

Capable of producing moments of breathtaking brilliance, Diaz has taken over the mantle from former Everton star James Rodriguez as the man his nation looks to for attacking inspiration.

 

*

 

“His evolution has been interesting. He was really good last season but then this season… I can barely remember a player improving this much,” Tom Kundert, the Portugal correspondent for World Soccer magazine, says of Diaz.

“He was great at the Copa America and that’s taken his confidence to another level.

 

“He’s one of these players who previously had flashes of brilliance — one in five matches or so. Now it’s pretty much every match. His signature move is the Arjen Robben thing — he cuts inside and scores. You know what he’s going to do but you still can’t stop him.”

 

Porto paid €7 million to sign him from Junior in July 2019 on a five-year contract. He was also pursued by Zenit Saint Petersburg but countrymen Radamel Falcao and Rodriguez, both former Porto players, helped convince him to pick the Estadio do Dragao over the Russian club. In total, he has scored 41 goals in 125 games in Portugal.

 

Porto are understood to own 80 per cent of his rights with the other 20 per cent retained by Junior, who sources in Colombia say are expecting to receive around €9 million from the transfer to Liverpool.

 

Of the 16 goals he has netted this season, 10 have been with his right foot, three with his left and three were headers.

 

“He cuts in a lot but can also go to the byline and cross,” adds Kundert.

 

“Earlier in the season, Sporting Lisbon were winning 1-0. Diaz just picked up the ball near the left flank, cut inside, top of the box and curled an absolute beauty into the far corner. He’s done that a few times.

 

“He can go onto his left foot as well. Against Estoril a few weeks ago, Porto were losing 2-0 but he was amazing and they won 3-2. Lots of papers were saying the difference between Porto and Sporting winning the league (Porto are top, six points clear of second-placed Sporting) is Diaz. He’s won so many games and points on his own.

 

“The assist he got in that game was similar to the Sporting goal. But instead of cutting inside he drifted past two or three defenders and left them reeling before cutting the ball back.

 

“He seems very humble and a model pro. There’s brilliant footage of him after the Copa America when he went back to his hometown in Colombia and he joined in a game wearing sandals. Big burly defenders were trying to take him out but he was dancing around them. He’s still in touch with his roots.”

 

Any concerns about him being able to handle the physicality of English football?

 

“He looks a bit scrawny but he gets stuck in and has scored headers from big crosses swung into the box. He uses his body well, so I think he’ll be OK in the Premier League,” says Kundert.

 

“There’s a bit of a misconception that players in Portugal are dainty and technical without physicality. Porto play top opposition in Europe and he looks very much at home at that level.

 

“Look at his goal against Manchester City in the Champions League last season. An amazing weaving run, finds the angle for the shot and smashes it into the corner. He’s undoubtedly been the best player in Portugal this season.

 

“Without financial difficulties, Porto wouldn’t have even entertained selling him.”

 

*

 

Part of Diaz’s brilliance is that he can play off either foot, so is extremely hard for defenders to shackle.

 

His favourite move is cutting in off the left and scoring with his right foot, as he has done to devastating effect for Porto and Colombia.

 

Sporting-1.png

 

Above, in a key league game against big rivals Sporting in September, Diaz is picked out in the inside left channel…

 

Sporting-2.png

 

…two defenders try to close him down but they and the two others in close proximity are powerless as Diaz cuts inside and curls an equaliser into the top corner.

 

Peru-1.png

 

A couple of months earlier, late on in the Copa America third-place play-off with Peru, above, Diaz exchanges passes with Luis Muriel…

 

Peru-2.png

 

…drifts infield from the left to receive the ball back…

 

Peru-3.png

 

…and with the clock ticking into the 94th minute, he smashes Colombia’s winner into the corner from about 25 yards.

 

Lyon-header.png

 

In the above example, from a pre-season friendly against leading French side Lyon in July, Diaz cuts inside and lofts a cross for Fabio Viera to volley home.

 

It would be tempting for defenders to lean to their left to try to block Diaz cutting onto his right foot. The problem is if they do that, he can destroy them on the outside.

 

Take the below two examples from a game earlier this month away at Estoril. Porto are 2-1 down in the 84th minute, at which point Diaz takes over.

 

Estoril-goal-1.png

 

He stands up the defender, who is wary of Diaz getting onto his right foot (above)…

 

Estoril-goal-2.png

 

…which gives him enough space to move onto his left and fire a low shot past the goalkeeper to level the scores.

 

Estoril-assist-1.png

 

Five minutes later, Diaz is shown to the byline and gratefully accepts the invitation…

 

Estoril-assist-2.png

 

…from there, he picks out a perfect low cross that Francisco Conceicao taps home for the winning goal.

 

The Estoril examples show how effective Diaz is even against deep-lying defences. Give him space in behind and he’s often more deadly.

 

There are plenty of examples of him scoring in this way, and he can create when running in behind defences as well.

 

Benfica-assist-1.png

 

Here, in last month’s 3-0 win at home to Benfica in Portugal’s version of the FA Cup, Diaz is picked out with a ball over the top.

 

Benfica-assist-2.png

 

He works the space away from the defender and patiently waits for support…

 

Benfica-assist-3.png

 

…then has the vision to pull a ball back for Evanilson, who is left with an easy finish.

 

The 5ft 10in tall Diaz’s versatility is also demonstrated in the way he is able to get into the box and score with headers — a knack that his new Anfield colleagues Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all possess.

 

Boavista-header-2.png

 

Diaz’s three headed goals this season include the above effort against Boavista in October.

 

Boavista-header-1.png

 

In a crowded penalty area, Diaz makes the dart towards the front post and jumps highest to head Porto in front.

 

You can see from Diaz’s position map that he has played almost exclusively on the left in Porto’s 4-4-2 this season.

However, he is also used to Klopp’s favoured 4-3-3, because Colombia use that formation.

 

positions_luis_diaz_2021-22-2048x2048.pn

 

His Smarterscout profile for this season underlines how strong his attacking stats are for his position.

 

Diaz has a real propensity to get a shot away per total touches (shot volume rating: 81 out of 99) — his 3.7 attempts on goal per 90 minutes this season is comfortably a career-high rate for him.

 

pizza_luis_diaz_multiple-positions_2021-

 

Scoring 95 out of 99 for expected goals (xG) from shot creation shows how much he contributes to his team’s chances, while his 73 out of 99 rating for carry and dribble volume indicates how much he looks to run with the ball.

 

diaz_attack.png

 

Diaz is enjoying his most prolific season — 0.85 non-penalty goals per 90 is up from 0.32 per 90 on average in the previous two seasons. He’s getting into better areas more consistently. The Colombian has scored 29 per cent of Porto’s league goals, underlining his importance to the team. Opta shows that his 14 league goals have come from 12.3 xG.

 

244731_99_2020_stats_perform_dark_player

 

244731_99_2021_stats_perform_dark_player

 

His shot selection has evidently improved, with far more inside the box this season compared to 2020-21. His xG per shot has nearly doubled from 0.12 last season to 0.20. Simply put, the average probability of his shots resulting in a goal has gone from 12 per cent to 20 per cent. Some 42 per cent have been on target this season, compared to 29 per cent in the previous one.
 

duels_luis_diaz-2048x1755.png

 

Looking at his duel ratings (adjusted for the strength of the opponent faced), we can see just how frequently he beats his man in a one v one, with a dribbling score of 95 out of 99. When adjusted for Premier League standard, he also keeps the ball at a decent rate with ball retention rated at 81 out of 99. Combining these, we can piece together how dangerous he is to defences. His xG from ball progression (88/99) looks to be more from receiving the ball in dangerous areas rather than being the one to pass into it (his progressive passing is just six out of 99).

 

In terms of his work off the ball, Diaz doesn’t make a ton of defensive actions — underlined by his ball recoveries and interceptions (36 out of 99) and disrupting opposition moves (26 out of 99) scores. But adjusting his defending intensity for Premier League standard, it’s about average for a player in his position.

 

Like others before him, he might need time to adapt to what Klopp demands from his players out of possession.

 

*

 

Where will Diaz fit in at Liverpool?

 

n the short term, he will provide greater depth as he competes with Mohamed Salah, Mane, Jota, Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a starting spot in the front three.

 

It remains to be seen if Diaz’s arrival leads to the departure of Takumi Minamino and/or Divock Origi before Monday’s deadline. Liverpool are open to offers for those two, in the knowledge that their game time is likely to be further restricted now Diaz is in the mix.

 

However, it’s the long-term implications of signing the South American that are the most intriguing. In particular what it means for Mane, who for so much of Klopp’s reign has occupied that berth on the left of the front three.

 

Like Salah and Firmino, Mane will be down to the final year of his contract this summer. If no extension is agreed then Liverpool will either have to cash in or run the risk of losing him for nothing in 2023. Mane, who like Salah is currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations, turns 30 in April.

 

Liverpool have been tracking Diaz’s progress since his time with Junior in his homeland. That interest went up a level last summer after his eye-catching displays at the Copa America.

 

Through an array of scouting reports and character references, they built up an extensive analysis of his technical and tactical ability, as well as his strong mentality. Like Salah and Mane, he has scored at the rate of a centre-forward despite operating out wide and there’s a belief he’s the perfect fit for Liverpool, style-wise.

 

Having only turned 25 two weeks ago, Diaz is also in keeping with the club’s strategy of investing in players with a high ceiling who are yet to enter their peak years.

 

Klopp has often talked about wanting to unearth the next star of world football rather than buying the finished article. Liverpool believe Diaz has huge potential, and also think he has the ability to play centrally as well as on the left.

 

What’s certain is that if this deal does go through then Liverpool’s massive global fanbase will grow still further.

 

“There’s a lot of excitement here that he’s joining one of the biggest teams in Europe, to be coached by one of the greatest managers,” adds Colombian journalist Sierra.

 

“He learnt and became a better striker in Portugal. He puts fear into opponents. Luis is the most important player we have right now. Liverpool will get a humble, down to earth player. He’s just a kid that loves football and playing is all he wants to do.

 

“The Premier League is the toughest in the world, but I believe he’s ready for it. He may need some time to adapt but he will learn so much from playing with Salah and Mane.

 

“There are people here who have been following Liverpool their whole lives, but they will have a lot more Colombian fans after Luis gets there. It will be like when James Rodriguez went to Real Madrid.”

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