Luis Díaz turned the page of the vallenato, the party, the stardom in Barranquilla, the sunshine of the house. Now is when it is for him, in a preseason that was due in Liverpool (he arrived in January) and in which he will have to take the step from pleasant appearance to consolidation as a player with red DNA.
These are days in which he works hard and catches up with his colleagues, who helped him a lot on his arrival but to whom he will now have to lend a hand. How? That is what the Colombian will spend the month of July, hand in hand with Klopp and his army of assistants. This is how his itinerary goes:
1. Tasks in preseason
“If things had gone according to Liverpool’s initial plan, July 4 would have been Luis Diaz’s first day as a Liverpool player,” the Liverpool Echo newspaper said of the Colombian’s arrival in the atypical winter market, when he had to get ahead to beat Tottenham.
In those five months it was more about observing and taking advantage of his talent, in a schedule full of demands, than a long list of concepts. But now is the ideal time for that: “We have a pre-season where we can work on all the little things with him, where we can make those fine adjustments,” Klopp said upon his pupil’s arrival. “All the coaches would say the same thing about a January signing. You do it, but if you could, you would do it in the summer. Yes, the start has been really good. But he is a long-term project for us and we are a long-term project. long term for him. With Luis it was interesting because the way he played in Porto is exactly the way we want him to play here.”
According to the Echo, now the preseason would be used “to adjust technical and tactical details of the Colombian.” Which? The German coach said it very clearly: “He hasn’t really had to adapt. He still has his defensive moments (mistakes), but he has speed and he’s a pretty good dribbler. He can carry the ball pretty quickly,” he said in the final stretch of the last season. And yes, in the defensive task he has plenty of sacrifice but he lacks skill and knowledge with his own to be more efficient. You have to work on that… a lot.
And the other key issue is finishing: “I don’t think we’ve seen the full range of his shooting abilities that we saw when we scouted him, so there’s a lot of room for improvement, but he’s a good player,” Klopp opined. Díaz opened a space as usual on a payroll with Mané (today in Bayern), Salah, Jota, Minamino, Jota… his was absolutely remarkable. But he scored 6 goals in 26 appearances. Clearly, that precision must be perfected, hand in hand with authentic experts at Anfield.
2. Consolidation in the tridents… now with Nuñez
A key theme has changed since the FA Cup and Carabao Cup parade and party: the much-feared attacking pitchfork has been disarmed. Mané decided not to renew and went to Bayern Munich and now Salah (he renewed for three years) and Díaz will have a new partner, who also cost almost 70 million euros: Darwin Núñez.
That’s good, because the Senegalese had to dress as a center forward to open space for the Colombian on the left wing, while for the Uruguayan it will be to play in his natural place. At the club’s Training Center it is believed that a full summer of work goes a long way towards a successful season and with new people it is a necessity.
But precisely because of that time of work that he did not have before, the level of demand will increase: “it is testimony to how well Díaz performed that he was able to make up to 26 appearances despite signing at the end of January and his six goals scored do not do justice to some of the electrical displays he put on during that time,” said the Liverpool Echo.
“Hopefully he’ll only get better… With a full pre-season under his belt, I think he’ll get better, which is scary,” Robertson said after Diaz’s Champions League display against Villarreal. Fear is what Klopp will seek to generate, now with a new and, hopefully, improved trident.
3- To the field!
After the first days of exams and physical work, Liverpool will have its first two pre-season games next week: on July 12 they will face Manchester United in Bangkok (Thailand) and, three days later, Crystal Palace, in Singapore.
Later, on July 21, they will face RB Leipzig and Salzburg of Austria in 45 minutes, at the former’s home.
On July 30, the first official match is scheduled, the confrontation against Manchester City for the Community Shield, the first title of the season.