£55k-p/w winger can unlock the attacking threat
Liverpool have had a troubling season so far and Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to find ways to ensure his team can qualify for Champions League football next season.
The Reds are currently sixth in the Premier League table and have been knocked out of the FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League over the last few months meaning it has become impossible for the club to pick up another trophy this season as they are 26 points adrift from league leaders Arsenal.
Tottenham Hotspur are currently seven points clear in the top-four race, however, Liverpool do have two games in hand on the north Londoners, so there is still an opportunity to snatch that final spot in the prestigious European competition they were only knocked out of earlier this week.
With 12 fixtures to go, Klopp must now do everything he can to get the Merseysiders back on track with a desperate need for consistency as opportunities to close the gap to their rivals for top four start to dwindle.
Fortunately, the imminent return of Luis Diaz could be the key to unlocking a lethal attacking threat at Anfield.
Will Luis Diaz return after the international break?
The Colombian winger has rarely been seen this season after suffering a knee injury that he sustained back in October that has seen him miss out on 29 fixtures so far this season.
Diaz was expected to return in December but after joining the mid-season tour in Dubai further aggravated his injury and suffered a setback in his recovery which was a huge blow for the team, however, Klopp has finally given a positive update on the player’s imminent return.
The Liverpool boss revealed in his press conference on March 10th: “Luis I hope (can starting full training) during next week.”
Over his 12 appearances this season, Diaz has scored four goals and registered three assists before his absence and had quickly become a fan favourite upon joining in January last year.
The winger made an instant impact on Liverpool’s attacking prowess and played key a role in the club’s pursuit of multiple trophies.
The £55k-per-week dynamo – hailed “exceptional” by Klopp – ranks in the top 15% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for non-penalty goals, assists, pass completion, successful take-ons, touches, progressive passes received and aerial duels won, proving that he is a huge creative and attacking influence on the pitch.
Cody Gakpo was signed in the winter transfer window to bolster the forward line following the injury to Diaz and the departure of Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi in the summer.
However, when comparing Gakpo’s output over his short time at Anfield with Diaz’s contributions ahead of his long-term injury issue, it is clear that the 26-year-old offers much more.
Despite playing one less league game than his Dutch teammate, Diaz has outperformed Gakpo in touches (394 v 259), shot accuracy (53.85% v 46.15%), assists (2 v 0), pass accuracy (80.97% v 70.45%) and take-ons completed (17 v 6), as per Squawka Comparison Matrix.
With that being said, the return of Diaz could be explosive for Liverpool’s forward line with his presence potentially leading to the formation of a budding partnership with the equally energetic Darwin Nunez. That’s certainly a duo who could cause chaos for opponents over the business end of the season.