'You will train with': Pep Lijnders names the three players he used to convince Luis Diaz to join Liverpool
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

'You will train with': Pep Lijnders names the three players he used to convince Luis Diaz to join Liverpool

Pep Lijnders convinced Luis Diaz to join Liverpool by tempting him with the opportunity to train alongside some of The Reds’ star defenders.

Lijnders shared an extract from his new book ‘Intensity: Inside Liverpool FC – Our Identity’ with the Liverpool Echo. In it, the Liverpool assistant manager details the conversation he and Jurgen Klopp had with Luis Diaz, whilst trying to sign him from Porto.

“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,” writes Lijnders.

“The good thing is you will train with Virgil (Van Dijk), Robbo (Andy Robertson) and Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and they will make you so much stronger. Our idea is to create and score; you will have to tear these guys apart each day in training, which will make you better’.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Whatever Pep and Jurgen said did the trick. Diaz snubbed Tottenham Hotspur to sign for Liverpool. He hasn’t looked back since.

Diaz shows his mentality from the start

The three players that Lijnders used to swing Diaz towards a move to Liverpool might come as a surprise to some.

Van Dijk is a stellar name in the squad, no doubt about that. But otherwise, you’d have thought for sheer star power Lijnders might have gone with perhaps Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Maybe Thiago Alcantara or Alisson Becker.

It does make sense, though. Pep was trying to show the quality of the defenders in the squad. These are the players who can up Diaz’s game day-in-day-out.

That in itself speaks to the kind of character Lijnders and Klopp like to deal with, and the kind of character Diaz is.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Not wanting to be challenged so thoroughly every day in training, some players may have been turned off by these ideas. But by putting it to Diaz that he would be tested by his own teammates even more than the opposition, the coaches can see the kind of hunger and desire in their new player immediately.

The 25-year-old has obviously responded incredibly to the challenge so far. Now that he is facing Robertson, Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk every day, not to mention Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, he’s going to get even better.

It’s great to hear the little details behind these transfers. We’re obviously lucky to have a manager who’s name alone can convince players to take the call from Liverpool. But in Lijnders, Klopp also a number 2 who understands perfectly what makes these players tick.

We wouldn’t be where we are without him.

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