Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker has praised the defensive work of Luis Diaz against Fulham last night.
Diaz started his second game in a row on Wednesday after missing six months with a knee injury. It was a decent performance from the Colombian and more crucial minutes in the tank. And speaking to LFCTV after the 1-0 win, Alisson had some kind words for his South American colleague.
“He is amazing. So much joy when you watch him play – and I have more joy than you because he is playing in front of me!” raved the ‘keeper. “It is so good to watch him play. Really skilled player, so much talent.
“He is helping us a lot, he is a proper threat to the opponent, the full-back has to think twice to overlap because they have Lucho behind them. This is something that helps our team as well, bringing quality on the ball.
“He is someone works really hard defensively as well for the team. I’m really happy for him. Everything he went through this season was really hard; for him, for his family and for ourselves of course. So long away because of injury, he came back and showed this amazing football for us. He’s a really important player for us and hopefully he’ll keep fit, keep scoring goals and bringing joy to the people.”
Diaz does his defensive duties
Had Liverpool been able to call on Diaz for the full season, then they’d probably be in the top four right now. The Colombian is one of those players who can change games on his own. It’s not hard to imagine him turning three or four games in the Reds favour had he been fit.
But alas, he hasn’t been. Liverpool fans have had to make do with seeing their No.23 on the pitch just 13 times in the Premier League.
Over those 13 games, Diaz has still shown the impact that he’s capable of, though. Last night wasn’t the finest example of that, but he was nevertheless a big thorn in Fulham’s side. His ability to drift through challenges with the ball is a real art. One Liverpool have badly missed.
Thankfully, the injuries don’t appear to have dented either Diaz’s enthusiasm to play at full pelt, or his quality. Still lightning quick and with the fast feet to match, he’s only going to get better as he build his fitness.
Crucially, the £37.5m man also seems to be able to get up and down the wing comfortably. A big part of the game for any wide man for the Reds has to be working hard defensively. You won’t get in the side without a willingness to track back. As Alisson points out, Diaz is more than happy to do the dirty work.
Still, at this stage it seems likely that we may have to wait until next season to see the very best of the 26-year-old. But that’s absolutely fine. Get through to the end of this campaign with no further problems and then we’ll start to look forward to the next one.