Jurgen Klopp has admitted it is “not far away” from a miracle how quickly Luis Diaz has adapted at Liverpool, praising his new No. 23 as a “really confident boy.”
Since his arrival from Porto in a £50 million deal at the end of January, Diaz’s impact has been remarkable – beyond his two goals in 12 outings so far.
The Colombian has asserted himself as a first-choice attacker almost immediately, starting six of a possible seven games in the Premier League and featuring in all but one game in all competitions.
While Klopp has previously stressed that “the way that he played at Porto is exactly the same as what we wanted him to play here,” he is still surprised at his start.
“You don’t expect miracles immediately from these kinds of players,” the Liverpool manager told Sky Sports this week.
“But he is not far away from doing exactly that. Long may it continue.”
However, though Klopp added that Diaz “did not have to change” from his style of play at Porto, he is still looking forward to pre-season to make minor tweaks.
“We have a pre-season next summer when we can work on all the little things with him,” he added, “where we can do those fine adjustments.”
Interestingly, Sky Sports also spoke to Andy Forrester, product manager for artificial intelligence recruitment tool AI Abacus, who claims their model predicted Diaz’s swift adjustment.
“Just before he moved to Liverpool, our models suggested that Diaz should theoretically hit the ground running, largely due to the similarities of playing styles between Liverpool and Porto,” Forrester said.
He added: “The reality of it is that when you watch Porto, they play so high in possession anyway that he practically takes up the same positions on the pitch.
“We simulated targets that Liverpool had been linked with and Diaz came out as the clear winner in having the highest predicted chemistry with the Liverpool squad.
Interesting @AiAbacus graphic from @ghostgoal's piece on Luis Diaz today, showing how #LFC were able to transplant him directly from Porto to hit the ground running. pic.twitter.com/VNFeNZ9pTI
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) March 22, 2022
“It specifically predicted he would link up well with Andy Robertson, Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott.”
The ability to move from Porto’s 4-3-3 to the same system as Liverpool has aided this, while it is clear he has worked well with Robertson and Jota on the pitch, as well as forming an unlikely bond with Elliott off it.
Insight from both Klopp and Forrester gives a glimpse into the level of detail that goes into signing a player of Diaz’s calibre.
And it explains how he could start firing from those first minutes against Cardiff.