Paul Merson feels Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ‘can afford to bench’ Luis Diaz away at Wolves on Saturday as Cody Gakpo or Diogo Jota can take over the Colombian’s spot.
The Reds now travel to Molineux for a 12:30 kick-off as the Premier League season resumes following the international break. Diaz, Gakpo and Jota were all in action for their respective nations. But Merson believes Diaz could be the player who is now the most in need of a rest.
Diaz only arrived back on Merseyside at 09:00 this Friday morning. He was among the last of Liverpool’s players to return. Alexis Mac Allister also only arrived back in England at 04:00 on Friday having represented Argentina. Neither player reported for training on Friday morning.
Diaz returned to Liverpool late after representing Colombia
Colombia hosted Venezuela in Barranquilla and visited Macul to face Chile in their first 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Diaz started in both fixtures and played for a combined 159 minutes as Nestor Lorenzo’s side took four points. Los Cafeteros beat Venezuela 1-0 before a 0-0 draw.
The Chile stalemate on Wednesday ensured Klopp had to wait for Diaz to return to Liverpool after earning his 41st cap. He has offered nine goals and an assist since making his debut in September 2018. Diaz last scored for Colombia in a 2-0 friendly win over Germany this June.
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Merson claims Klopp ‘can afford to’ rest Diaz away at Wolves
Diaz has been a key part of Klopp’s Liverpool plans so far this season ahead of the Reds’ trip to Wolves. He has started in all four of the Merseyside outfit’s Premier League fixtures thus far. The winger also scored in the Anfield side’s draw at Chelsea and win over Bournemouth.
Klopp saw Diaz put Liverpool ahead at Stamford Bridge before Axel Disasi dragged Chelsea level. The Colombian also scored the Reds’ first goal against Bournemouth to draw level at 1-1. Mohamed Salah and Jota added to their tally to secure Liverpool’s first win of the season.
Now, though, Merson has suggested in his column for Sportskeeda that Klopp can drop Diaz when Liverpool face Wolves. The Arsenal legend believes the Reds boss has enough quality in Jota and Gakpo to give the £37.5m winger a well-earned rest on Saturday. Merson wrote:
“A Saturday morning game after an international break is always a hard one to call as most players – at least from the so-called top-six sides – go away to represent their countries. It acts as a bit of a leveller and is a huge advantage. So, Liverpool will have to be wary of that.
“It’s particularly hard for South Americans, like Alexis Mac Allister and Luis Diaz. But the Reds might be able to get away with rotating a few players.
“Mac Allister will probably start. But Liverpool can afford to bench Diaz as the likes of Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota, who both scored for their countries in the international break, are waiting patiently on the wings.”