Liverpool fans can be very happy with what £50m January signing Luis Diaz had to offer on his Premier League debut in an impressive performance in the Reds’ routine win over Leicester.
Diaz, who got 22 combined goals and assists in 29 appearances for Porto in the first half of the campaign, was given half an hour off the bench against Cardiff in the FA Cup at the weekend but was named in the starting XI for the first time as Leicester arrived on Merseyside on Thursday night.
Just 90 minutes into his Premier League career, the Colombian already looks like he could be another masterstroke from the club’s famed recruitment department.
Liverpool were being widely praised for the transfer – which saw them beat Tottenham to the punch – before Diaz had even kicked a ball. Now that he has, there is strong evidence to back it up.
Supporters could have been forgiven for thinking that Diaz has been part of this Liverpool squad for years rather than the few days it has been in reality. He immediately seemed to click with his new teammates and buy into the tactical demands set by Jurgen Klopp.
The blossoming relationship on the left flank with Andrew Robertson was of particular note and will be something to watch closely over the coming weeks and months.
Only two very good saves from Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel – who was in top form all night to stop a dominant Liverpool from running up the scoreline – prevented Diaz from marking the occasion with a goal or more.
It also offered a window into a future without Sadio Mane. The Senegal star had only returned to the club from international duty on Thursday morning after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with his country a few days ago and so wasn’t part of the squad.
But Mane will be 30 before the season is over and is already into the final 18 months of his contract. His Liverpool career won’t last forever and the logical idea is that Diaz, 25, becomes his long-term successor in the left-forward role that has been his since he arrived from Southampton in 2016.
If anyone was left wondering whether Diaz is up to the enormous task of filling those shoes, his Premier League debut was a strong opening response.
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