How Liverpool coach convinced Luis Diaz to reject Tottenham during holiday

Liverpool gazumped Tottenham‘s attempts to sign Luis Diaz from Porto in January, and it was one of Klopp’s assistants who played a key role in the transfer.

The Colombian has been a revelation since joining the Reds in a deal worth £50 million at the start of the year.

There’s a strong argument to say Liverpool wouldn’t have been successful as they were last season if not for Diaz’s contributions in the second half of the season.

Liverpool had initially earmarked him as a target for the summer transfer window, but when Tottenham made their move in the winter, the Reds felt they had no option but to intervene.

Writing in his new book Intensity, as quoted by The Mirror, Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has now revealed the key role he played in convincing Diaz to join the club during his time away on a skiing trip.

“I was on a skiing trip with my wife Danielle when, during dinner, our sporting director called me: ‘You and Jurgen have to speak with Luis Diaz in five minutes,” Lijnders wrote in one extract from the book.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 10, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders (L) during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We’ve just agreed with Porto but Tottenham are all-in as well.

“I joined the call and Jurgen was explaining to Luis how he would fit into our style and that we would help him.

“He said in reference to me joining [the call], ‘But you will hear this guy much more often!’

“To which I immediately said, ‘But I will explain things more calmly than Sergio [Conceicao, the Porto manager]!’ To which Luis laughed.

“I told him: ‘We want you desperately and have been pushing for the last one-and-a-half months with our owners and our sporting director, but you know that these kinds of transfers are not easy to accomplish.”

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - MAY 03: Luis Diaz of Liverpool receives their Playstation Player Of The Match award after their sides victory during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Villarreal and Liverpool at Estadio de la Ceramica on May 03, 2022 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

As a Portuguese speaker, having spent time coaching at Porto’s academy, Lijnders would have been able to clearly communicate with Diaz.

He went on to explain how he used the idea of training with some of Liverpool’s star players to lure him to the club and even revealed that sporting director Julian Ward showed Diaz the Liverpool trophy cabinet on the call.

“The good thing is you will train with Virgil, Robbo and Trent and they will make you so much stronger,” was Lijnders’ message to Diaz.

“Our idea is to create and score; you will have to tear these guys apart each day in training, which will make you better.’

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - Thursday, July 21, 2022: Liverpool's number 23 Luis Díaz during a pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“His agent translated Jurgen’s message and [sporting director] Julian Ward said, ‘These two will make you a better player.’

“I told him there were not many clubs with more history and culture than Porto but Liverpool was one of them and he would feel this.

“Julian then walked with his phone to the trophy cabinet at AXA (training centre) and finished with: ‘We want to add to this and that’s why we want you.’

“If the boy wasn’t convinced, he would be now.”

Agent Lijnders!

* You can pre-order Pepijn’s book, Intensity, here.