As the Reds get ready for their first home Premier League game of the 2022–23 season, manager Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool has praised Colombian winger Luis Diaz's scoring prowess.
Liverpool's attacking approach, according to Jurgen Klopp, will coax the best goalscoring instincts out of Luis Diaz and help make up for the loss of Sadio Mane's goals.
Since his arrival in January of last season, Colombian star Diaz has wowed the Kop, instantly establishing himself as a cult hero for his daring pace and willingness to take on opponents.
Despite the impact he has had at Anfield since joining for £37 million from Porto, one statistic is a little less impressive than the others. After his return, he scored six goals in 28 games. On the first day of the season, at Fulham, Diaz missed a couple of significant chances, which seemed to point to a lack of goalscoring instinct, but Klopp responded.
“Oh definitely, he can get 10–15 goals this season." That is his quality. We need to see, but of course that is his potential, "
And the Reds boss dismissed the idea that he and his coaches were working specifically on finishing with the 25-year-old winger... instead choosing to be content with the knowledge that Liverpool’s style will bring the best out of him. Neither Mane nor Mohamed Salah were recognised as prolific scorers before they arrived at Anfield, but both became consistent in front of goal as they settled into Klopp’s team.
Mane had never got near 20 goals in a season in his time with RB Salzburg and then Southampton, but after his initial settling in season, reached double figures in four out of five years with the Reds, including 26 in 2018-19.
And Klopp believes it can be the same for Diaz.
“When Sadio played against us, he scored three times for Southampton, but it was not that he scored every week." He didn’t even start the game when he played against us.
“So the consistency came with the confidence and with the team-mates, the structure of our game. So that is what we’re working on that doesn’t change. The way we play should help strikers. It is the way we play. It’s the way we bring the boys into the situation.
“Of course it is about whether it is in you or not, but it’s the way we play, how we position the players, how we protect the players, where we win the balls back. And it is how the boys can use their speed in these moments. They will be in a lot of goalscoring situations, and that then makes you the player we remember. "
Klopp’s side face Palace on Monday evening, knowing they must kick on following the disappointing opening weekend draw at Fulham, with Manchester City already on fire.
Yet he believes Diaz can be allowed to settle naturally as he looks to replace Mane, and not be put under pressure to score more. He added: “We are working on it but not with Luis specifically." We didn’t take him out because the other two scored and he didn’t, so we showed him how. That’s not necessary. It’s not a problem. You can’t force it.
“Last week people were asking 'How can you play without Sadio?' (and his goals)", but in November and December everybody was thinking about when he would score the next goal, and Mo was on fire. You just let it go.
“You see the situations Luis had, big chances, and he was just unlucky." He started on the first day with us and took part in all the sessions, and that is the most important thing. All the rest will come. In the long term, it is, of course, not a problem. It is about being prepared and fighting through moments like this. "
Klopp is without Thiago, Curtis Jones and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain in his midfield, Ibrahima Konate at the back, Diogo Jota is absent and Joel Matip is doubtful, with Joe Gomez set to come in.