How did the arrival of energetic Luis Diaz affected Liverpool and its campaign?

Premier League, 2021-22, is on its last legs. This season we have seen a lot of drama. There is a one-point tussle between the eternal rivals Pep Guardiola’s Man City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Chelsea started strongly, then lost steam midway to make the title race from three horse to a two-horse race. Manchester United showed credentials for a possible top-four finish but lost their plot midway in the season, owing to Cristiano’s longest goal-drought since winning his first Ballon d’Or and Harry Maguire’s disastrous form and leadership. The once English Champions are now struggling to compete in Europa League next season. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Tottenham have stepped up their race for the #4 spot, but the former have damaged their chances after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Newcastle United.

While others have been busy trying to qualify for the Champions League next season, that is the least of the worries for Liverpool. The Reds have already won two domestic cups against Chelsea in the penalties and are busy eyeing a quadruple. But here’s where the challenge arises. Liverpool has to beat the vicious Real Madrid, who are the most successful team in the history of the UCL, to claim Europe. On the other hand, Pep Guardiola has almost monopolised the Premier League and currently has a four-point advantage against the Reds. While Liverpool still has a game more than City, they need to make sure they win their last two games and City doesn’t win against Aston Villa. That’s highly unlikely given how City rarely messes up, but miracles do occur.

One of the biggest reasons Liverpool could dream about quadruple is the arrival of Luis Diaz. The Columbian is a one-of-a-kind winger, who can change the game any moment he likes, and he did it countless times this season. Diaz has been one of the standout performers in Liverpool’s ravaging form in the second half of the season, creating big chances from thin air.

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For example, Liverpool’s away leg against Villarreal at the 2nd leg of the UCL semifinal. Liverpool went with a confident 2-0 lead, but within 45 minutes, the scoreboard read 2-2 on aggregate. The Reds were left speechless. After half-time, Klopp put in Diaz. The winger brought in a wave of energy ever since he came in. His flair and ability carved open a path for Liverpool to make a comeback, and the Reds won it comfortably with a 5-2 on aggregate.

While Mo Salah hasn’t been his impressive best in 2022, he absolutely ruled 2021. On the other hand, Sadio Mane’s form has improved drastically ever since he returned from Africa. Diaz was brought in to provide competition to Sadio Mane, but fate played its dice in such a way that both have become partners in crime. Diaz is often deployed in Mane’s left-wing, which led Klopp to reposition Mane to a central position, where Mane incidentally began to prosper. This led Klopp to form a reliable attack comprising of the Energetic Diaz, Prolific Salah and Versatile Mane. They were ably supported by Thiago and the full-backs making Liverpool a machine gun.

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Diaz has made at least 2 successful dribbles a game this season. He also contributes nearly 1.8 key passes a game. These numbers are seriously outstanding for a player playing the Premier League for the first time. He also averages nearly 3 shots a game. As of now, Diaz has 4 goals, and 3 assists in 10 starts this season in the Premier League.

Honestly speaking, Luis Diaz looks the final piece of the puzzle Klopp needed to re-conquer Europe. If Klopp decides to build around the trio of Mane, Salah and Diaz, he has a reliable attack to build around. If Klopp manages to get his hand on a good midfielder next season, he can definitely mount up a serious challenge for the Sextuple. It still remains to be seen whether Mo Salah stays or leaves the Merseyside. Stay tuned with The Sportsway for more such updates.

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