Premier League • England

Robertson admits Diaz did everything Jota couldn’t in assessment of ‘special’ Liverpool performance

Luis Diaz, Andy Robertson Villarreal v Liverpool May 2022

Andy Robertson hailed the “special” performance from Luis Diaz for Liverpool against Villarreal, but insisted the winger will only get better.

Colombia international Diaz was the unexpected transfer arrival at Anfield in the January window. However, manager Jurgen Klopp insisted that he only sanctions winter deals for players who are firm summer targets.

Upon the 25-year-old’s arrival, Klopp insisted that Diaz would prove a perfect match for his system. And that prediction has rang immediately true, the winger having a stunning impact in the team.

Indeed, his latest exploits on Tuesday saw him drag Liverpool back into their Champions League semi-final. He came on as a half-time substitute for Diogo Jota after Villarreal had wiped out the Reds’ 2-0 first-leg advantage.

And after Fabinho made it 3-2 on aggregate, Diaz gave Liverpool daylight again. As well as his goal, he had other standout moments in and out of possession. He therefore scooped UEFA’s Player of the Match award.

Klopp insisted that Jota did not have a bad game but said that his side needed to become more “flexible”.

Reds left-back Robertson, speaking to Liverpool’s official website, nevertheless labelled Diaz’s impact “special”.

“We have tried to help him as much as we can – all of the players,” the Scot added. “We know how difficult it is coming into the club in January. We’ve tried with the coaches and everyone else to get him up to speed.

“He is a special, special player. With the talent he has and the will to win, he just fits us perfectly.

“It was tough to take Jots off and I think he has been excellent this season, but Luis came on and made a big difference.

“He played on the left, he started pushing them back, started taking the ball, dribbling and everything, it was a really good half from him.”

Robrtson added that it is “scary” to think Diaz will only improve under Klopp at Liverpool.

Diaz has proved Liverpool inspiration

Liverpool stars Thiago and Luis Diaz

The Champions League semi-final second leg is not the only time Diaz has proved Liverpool’s inspiration in his short time at the club.

He scored and assisted away at Benfica to give the Reds a firm advantage in the quarter-finals.

In the Premier League, meanwhile, he did the same to help Liverpool to a thumping 4-0 win over Manchester United.

Diaz and Jota, who is also 25, represent the more long-term future of Liverpool’s attack. Indeed, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will all be 30 by next summer.

Nevertheless, Diaz’s quick adaptation means Klopp does not have to worry about the shape of his attack in the seasons to come.