Luis Diaz will only prove his Liverpool worth if he continues his form against opponents who are now wiser to his threat, Paul Merson has said.
The Colombian winger arrived at Anfield at the end of January and he has already had a stunning impact. While he has only scored one goal in his seven games so far, he has proved vital in all areas.
Indeed, Diaz has adapted quickly to manager Jurgen Klopp’s pressing style of football out of possession. On the ball, meanwhile, he has had several chances to add to his goal tally.
Last Sunday, he started the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea and settled well in the pressure situation at Wembley.
According to Merson, though, opposition teams now have enough clips of Diaz at Liverpool to analyse his threat. As a result, the pundit warned of a potential drop-off from the winger – unless he proves his worth.
The pundit wrote in his Daily Star column: “Luis Diaz has been so outstanding for Liverpool so far that he is already a marked man.
“He’s come in and caught everybody on the hop. Defenders wouldn’t have watched him much or known much about him and he’s taken them by surprise.
“Now all of a sudden he’s on the radar and this is when you’ve got to produce. He’s in opposition team talks now.
Luis Diaz faces major Liverpool challenge
“When teams are discussing how to set up against Liverpool and who to stop, it’s not just [Mohamed] Salah and [Sadio] Mane and [Diogo] Jota they’re talking about. It’s Luis Diaz.
“So it’s a different game for him now and this is where we are going to see what he’s made of. The top players carry it on.
“He will be a marked man. I don’t mean in a vicious way but teams will adjust and try to stop him.”
Nevertheless, Merson expressed his admiration at what Diaz has produced for Liverpool so far.
“What I’ve seen so far, I’ve been majorly impressed,” the pundit added. “His first touch, his movement, his team play, his work ethic, finishing, his skills. Everything about him has been outstanding.
“He’s going to be massively important to them now for the rest of the season because they don’t have a chance of winning a Quadruple unless everyone is on top of their game.”
West Ham know all about Diaz
Diaz will be looking to maintain his strong form in Liverpool’s Premier League clash with West Ham.
However, the Hammers – led by David Moyes – will travel to Anfield armed with knowledge about the 25-year-old.
Klopp warns Salah, Mane and Diaz of high standards
Jurgen Klopp warns Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz over high standards at Liverpool
Indeed, Moyes recently revealed his transfer interest in signing the former Porto winger.
The manager said he “spoke to Luis Diaz on the phone”. It was also his “understanding” that Liverpool wanted to sign him in the summer.
Amid further interest from Tottenham, though, Liverpool swooped in for their long-term target.
Liverpool can cut the gap to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League to three points with victory over West Ham.
Following Carabao Cup triumph, they are also still in the hunt for the FA Cup and Champions League.