Luis Diaz who arrived in the winter transfer is fitting like a glove in the Liverpool team with his hard running and purposeful pressing.
Players like Fabinho and Andy Robertson were initially given time by Jurgen Klopp to settle into the relentless Reds squad. Both players who are currently undroppable from the Liverpool starting spots. But initially both had to wait patiently for their chance under the German technician.
Meanwhile, players like Mo Salah, and Virgil Van Dijk, hit the ground running and have never stopped. Similarly, Liverpool’s mid-season arrival of Luis Diaz produces a similar case where he took no time to settle into the Liverpool squad.
It is no surprise, that managers, former players, and Diaz’s Liverpool teammates have all joined in praising the Colombian and labeled him as a game-changer.
Let’s understand Luis Diaz and how beneficial is for Liverpool to have a “pressing machine” like the Colombian
It was known to all about Liverpool’s interest in the former Porto man, but it was just a matter of time when the deal will get over the line.
Liverpool knew they were getting a real top talent from Porto when they spent the money mid-season.
Although, the Colombian has three goals and an assist in 15 appearances to date for the Reds. But definitely, that number will soon improve.
But it is his off-the-ball work rate that has impressed the most so far in the Liverpool shirt. Settling into the life of Jurgen Klopp gegenpressing system isn’t an easy task.
The gengenpressing/counter-pressing philosophy demands the press on their opponents. Also, with a particular focus and with great energy and enthusiasm when the ball is in the opposition territory.
Moreover, the counter-pressing is most effective with a front three who are quick and fit. It demands capability of being creative enough to capitalize on errors with a decisive pass or clinical finish.
Luis Diaz has completely complemented the system Klopp implies in his team.
The 25-year-old had only trained with his new team once before Klopp handed him his first cap. He made his debut in the FA Cup tie against Cardiff City at Anfield in February.
And my gosh, Diaz just needed 10 minutes to get the Kop excited and get into their feet.
His relentless pressing led to numerous occasions to win the ball back. Moreover, his hard work was rewarded when he pressed Cardiff defender Perry Ng off the ball, his quick three touches led to winning possession and his pass to Minamino led to a goal.
It was that moment when all Liverpool fans realized what an asset he is to have for the Merseysiders.
Notable stats of Luis Diaz
According to FBref
Starting with percentile for pressures, he stands at 40th percentile in comparison to players in the same position in the top five leagues. Meanwhile, his senior in the team, Sadio Mane is on the 34th percentile.
In terms of successful pressure percentage (the percentage of time that the ball is won back within five seconds of a pressure being applied), it is 34.3 per cent.
He is also in the 97th percentile for the number of tackles made inside the final third of the field.
Meanwhile, in the Champions League, he stands neck to neck with Mane in terms of how many pressures he has applied to opponents.
Díaz’s intelligence and work rate when it comes to winning the ball back is already abundantly clear.
Interestingly, the Colombian shows no hesitation in retreating into own half to get Liverpool move forward. So far, his 3 goals in 15 appearance don’t do justice how incredible Diaz is.