Football News

Liverpool sign ‘Sancho-esque’ Luis Diaz from Porto

By Harry Edwards

Published: 12:27, 30 January 2022

Colombian winger Luis Diaz has completed his Liverpool transfer after undergoing a medical in Argentina.

Diaz, who has spent the past two-and-a-half years with Porto, had been a target for Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window but Liverpool have swooped in to lure the 25-year-old to Anfield.

The medical took place in Argentina as Diaz was in the South American country on international duty with the Colombian national team, looking to help his side qualify for the World Cup later this year.

Diaz, who will wear the No.23 at Liverpool, will travel to the UK after facing Argentina in midweek.

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It is believed to be part of their future-planning, a potential teammate for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who could also replace the latter. Luis Diaz enjoyed a fine first half of the season for Porto, directly involved in 18 goals in 18 Primeira Liga matches.

Diaz also scored twice in the Champions League, netting in a 1-0 win and 1-1 draw with AC Milan in the group stage, which also saw him play 180 minutes in defeats for Porto against Liverpool. Despite the defeats, Diaz showed signs of quality, and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson spoke highly of the Colombian, whom he has also faced in World Cup qualifying.

“Luis Diaz is an excellent player, he does a lot of work for the defence, he did it in the goals of Copa America,” he said.

“In Porto, he comes with good performances, and here our task is to see Colombia as a whole and to worry about how we should destroy it.”

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The top scorer in the Primeira Liga this season, Diaz’s 14 goals have come from a league-high 63 shots, 26 of which have hit the target. He also leads the division for Expected Goals (12.3) and Expected Goals on Target (11.09), and all 14 goals have come from open play with no penalties.

But Diaz is more than a goalscorer. He is also a keen dribbler, completing 46 in the Primeira Liga this season, the third-highest in the division. His dribbling is something Liverpool have had to deal with in the Champions League, too, where the Colombian completing five take-ons against the Reds this season.

In the UCL group stage, only Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu of Young Boys (32) and Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies (20) completed more take-ons than Diaz’s 19 this season.

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As such, keen ball-carrier Diaz was previously compared to Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho in the way he approaches matches.

“A player like Lucho, with the qualities he has, can play for any team. It’s not easy to find players like him,” former Colombia coach Arturo Reyes told O Jogo in July.

“There are things similar to Jadon Sancho. Both have fun on the field, they don’t feel pressure and they play the same way in any side.”

Meanwhile, former Real Madrid veteran and Porto defender Pepe is quoted by the Mirror as saying: “Luis Diaz is the example of the professionalism and passion we have in playing for FC Porto, we know of the importance of wearing this shirt, and I am proud to share the locker room with Luis Diaz and others.”

According to reports, Liverpool were already looking at signing Diaz in the summer, but Tottenham’s interest in this window had sped up their plans.