Before Liverpool came in to seal a deal, Tottenham had agreed a fee with Porto for the signing of Luis Diaz, which left fans in Colombia “so sad” at a sideways step.
Diaz became a surprise addition to the Reds’ attacking ranks towards the end of the January transfer window, at a time when it was widely expected no new signings would be made.
But with Spurs pushing to bring the winger to north London to aid Antonio Conte’s rebuild, Liverpool were forced to act fast and secure a target they had pencilled in for a summer move.
Now, Diaz has already made his debut for Liverpool and laid on an assist in doing so, with his cutback to Takumi Minamino in Sunday’s FA Cup win over Cardiff the perfect start.
It could have been much different, and as Colombian journalist Pipe Sierra – who broke the news of Diaz’s switch to Merseyside – told This Is Anfield in an exclusive interview, the reception would have been soured in his native country.
“When the offer from Tottenham passed through the Porto headquarters, everybody here in Colombia felt so sad,” Sierra explains.
“Colombian football fans think Luis Diaz, the quality of Luis Diaz, deserves a better team.
“So when I posted the news that Liverpool were going to make an offer, it was awesome. The reaction of the fans here was so great! People are very happy.
“Here in Colombia, maybe 10 years ago, maybe the perspective would be different.
“But nowadays, everybody knows the quality and knows that Liverpool is one of maybe the three most important teams in every moment.
“This was great and we are happy, because Luis Diaz, I am absolutely sure, is going to improve his level with an excellent coach like Jurgen Klopp.”
According to FIFA’s world rankings, Colombia are the 19th best footballing country in the world, stationed between Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal and the upwardly mobile Wales.
Theirs is a squad littered with big names, including Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado, but Diaz is considered the standout.
And for Sierra and his compatriots, this is why joining a club like Liverpool, and working under a manager like Klopp, was the right move – rather than opting for Spurs.
“The national team needs a good quality of player and Luis Diaz, nowadays, is the best Colombian player – maybe with Cuadrado,” he continued.
“With Jurgen Klopp, he’s going to improve every one of his skills.
“The assist and the minutes he played [against Cardiff] was awesome. In all the newspapers in Colombia, this is the main story in every place.
“This was great, people are very, very happy, and now, everybody, even people who don’t see football, knows Luis Diaz plays for Liverpool.
“This is great for all the Colombian fans and all Colombians.”
Stay tuned to This Is Anfield for the full interview with Pipe Sierra in the coming days, or listen on our podcast here.