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“He just goes at you” – Virgil van Dijk hails impact of “incredible” Luis Diaz

Virgil van Dijk has joined the long queue of Luis Diaz‘s admirers after his game-changing cameo against Villarreal, hailing his new team-mate as “incredible.”

It was a point of contention among supporters when Liverpool’s teamsheet was announced for their Champions League semi-final decider at Villarreal.

Diaz was left out, with Diogo Jota starting in his place, the Portuguese joining Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in the front three.

Jota struggled throughout an abysmal first half for the Reds, and it was no surprise to see him hooked at the break – though it was something of a surprise that only Diaz was brought on.

Klopp’s faith in the rest of his starting lineup eventually paid off as Liverpool fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 on the night, but it was the livewire substitute who truly inspired the comeback.

Fabinho reduced the deficit to 2-1, before Diaz headed past Geromino Rulli to level, with Mane then putting the gloss on the evening as the Reds earned a 5-2 aggregate victory.

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - Tuesday, May 3, 2022: Liverpool's substitute Luis Díaz during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg game between Villarreal CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio de la Cerámica. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In his post-match interview with BT Sport, Van Dijk was questioned on the impact of Diaz since his arrival in January.

“Incredible,” was Van Dijk’s assessment.

“The way he goes one vs. one, it doesn’t really matter who he’s facing, he’ll just go at you.

“Without any fear or anything, he just goes at you.

“And if he loses the ball, he gets the ball back as quickly as possible and goes again and goes again. That’s very difficult to defend.”

Klopp again made five changes to his side for the trip to El Madrigal, with the manager carefully rotating his squad throughout the run-in as Liverpool chase three more trophies.

It means that in-form players such as Diaz are not guaranteed a starting spot, which Van Dijk believes keeps up the “momentum” that has led the Reds to another final.

“Now we have this momentum at the moment in the team, it’s obviously great,” he continued.

“And now we go to Paris.”

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