Pep Lijnders' role in Luis Diaz's arrival and why the winger is on the up

Finding a player of real quality during any January transfer window is not an easy task.

Most clubs aren't prepared to sell their best asset halfway through a season unless it's for a ridiculous transfer fee.

But, Liverpool were able to acquire the services of winger Luis Diaz from Porto for just £42.30 million last January.

The Colombia international is such a good player that he needed no time to settle into his new environment.

Diaz scored six goals and registered five assists in 26 appearances for the Reds last season.

The 25-year-old also averaged a WhoScored player rating of 7.44 across 13 Premier League appearances.

But, Diaz and Liverpool almost didn't cross paths. It was heavily reported that Tottenham Hotspur were the favourites to sign the forward. However, the Reds intervened.

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has recently revealed that he is a key reason why Diaz ended up at Anfield instead of North London.

As quoted by The Mirror, he wrote the following in his new book 'Intensity': “I was on a skiing trip with my wife Danielle when, during dinner, our sporting director called me: ‘You and Jurgen (Klopp) have to speak with Luis Diaz in five minutes.

“We’ve just agreed with Porto but Tottenham are all-in as well.

“I joined the call and Jurgen was explaining to Luis how he would fit into our style and that we would help him.

“He said in reference to me joining (the call), ‘But you will hear this guy much more often!’

“To which I immediately said, ‘But I will explain things more calmly than Sergio (Conceicao, the Porto manager)!’ To which Luis laughed.

“I told him: ‘We want you desperately and have been pushing for the last one-and-a-half months with our owners and our sporting director, but you know that these kinds of transfers are not easy to accomplish.”

We are lucky to have such competent people running the football club. It is far from a coincidence that Liverpool have had success since installing the likes of Klopp and Lijnders in key positions.

We can't wait to see what Diaz conjours up next season. The Colombia international is currently in the process of completing a full pre-season under Klopp, which is something that he has never done before.

Therefore, we fully expect Diaz to go to another level next campaign. It is important to note that he is only 25 years of age.

With that being the case, Diaz is far from the finished article. Going by Klopp's comments back in April, the winger has the drive to be the very best he can be.

“I didn’t know how much he enjoys training,” he said, as quoted by talkSPORT.

“I had no idea. I’m not sure I ever saw anybody like that. I said before, he cannot stop smiling in training. It’s crazy. The rest, how quick he will adapt, I didn’t know that either.

“They are all happy. All our players we signed in the last few years were happy when they arrived. It’s not the worst place in the world, to be honest!

“You can see that they are flying. Luis is now here for more than two months, and it’s rare to see how much he enjoys training. It’s really cool.”

It sounds like it doesn't matter who is next to Diaz, he is determined to make things work, which is brilliant.

Hopefully everything goes to plan for the winger heading into the future. Diaz is contracted until the conclusion of the 2026-27 campaign.

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