Liverpool may already have Roberto Firmino’replacement’secured thanks to perfect transfer deal
Tottenham Hotspur and Daniel Levy making a move to sign Colombian forward Luis Díaz from FC Porto in January 2022 could go down as one of the most important moments in Liverpool’s history.
Michael Edwards and Julian Ward stepped in, Liverpool agreed to match the initial £37m fee that Porto wanted for the 25-year-old, and Díaz moved to Liverpool, not London.
Since then, Díaz has been a vital part of the Liverpool squad, integrating himself immediately and looking the perfect fit by all accounts from the inside and out.
With Roberto Firmino having injury troubles all season, and Diogo Jota struggling for form relative to his performances in the earlier part of the campaign, Liverpool have needed that extra option in attack to sustain their quadruple push.
After all, could Takumi Minamino or Divock Origi really have changed the tide of the Champions League semi-final as Díaz did against Villarreal? And would either of them have troubled Manchester City as Díaz has? It seems unlikely.
If Liverpool do win the quadruple this season, then Díaz’s arrival will go down as a pivotal moment, but even if they fall slightly short of those incredible standards, he still appears set to be a transformational signing in the long term.
One the most intriguing aspects to the future Liverpool forward line plan over the course of the next few seasons is what happens when Firmino moves on.
His contract expires in 2023 and by that time he will be nearly 32. Already this season, the Brazilian has had four separate injuries and is currently out with the latest one.
The question of where Liverpool go next after Firmino, given his uniqueness, is not clear-cut, but that decision will have to be made at some point.
Given that Firmino was not a Klopp signing but one of the players who was at the club when the German arrived, there is no cast iron tie-in with a false nine that means another must be found, though the imminently-arriving Fábio Carvalho could potentially be moulded into the role and Sadio Mané has been doing well there of late.
But another option could link back to the Colombian forward that is already looking every inch a perfect Klopp player.
Luis Díaz has appeared on the right and in the centre so far for Liverpool in the short space of time that he has been at the club, but it is clear that his long term role will be on the left.
But that, though, is not to say that he cannot bring to the table some of the skills that Liverpool lack minus Firmino — the first half against Villarreal on Tuesday night being a case in point.
While Liverpool were penned back and unable to get themselves out, Jota struggled to link play and the ball just kept coming back.
As soon as Díaz entered the field, however, possession began to stick. Part of this was down to the individual improvement in the Liverpool team across the board, but part of it was also the ability to carry the ball via dribbling that Díaz has — unique among his Reds teammates.
Díaz relieved the pressure by simply keeping hold of the ball under the watchful eye of several defenders, allowing his teammates to reset, get back into position or support him.
Clearly, this is not exactly how Firmino has helped Liverpool link things up in the past, and it was coming from a different part of the Reds attack.
But if Liverpool move away from Firmino — and at some point, perhaps sooner rather than later, that will happen — then they need to have a tweak to that plan in place.
Díaz will form at least a part of the post-Firmino era as a crucial future member of their front three. But he could also have a significant chunk of the solution to one of the biggest traits Liverpool will lack without the Brazilian.
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