Luis Diaz is still cautious over his return from a second knee injury, but is hopeful he can do so next month – and potentially against Real Madrid.
Diaz has not played a game since the 3-2 loss to Arsenal in October, recovering from a serious knee injury only to sustain another in training in December.
His setback during Liverpool’s mid-season camp in Dubai was a major blow, requiring surgery as Jurgen Klopp described it as a “proper smash in the face.”
This Is Anfield understands the injury was a recurrence of LCL damage to his left knee, and recently Diaz was able to begin running on grass again as he steps up his recovery.
"Let's wait a little…" ?
Luis Díaz eyes huge match for #LFC return! ?? pic.twitter.com/8GURy3j4EG
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 10, 2023
The winger is expected to be involved again in March, and in an interview with Sky Sports this week he confirmed he “hopes to be back soon.”
With a possible return date set, Diaz was asked whether he could target the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid on March 15 for his comeback.
“Let’s wait. Let’s wait to heal, just to see when I can come back to the pitch,” he replied.
“If it’s Bernabau, it will be. No worries.”
There are seven other fixtures between now and then, including the first leg against Real at Anfield and clashes with Everton, Newcastle and Man United in the Premier League.
In Diaz’s continued absence, Klopp is likely to turn to Cody Gakpo as his regular option on the left, though the Dutchman could alternate with Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota is now “in contention” again after four months out.
Roberto Firmino is due to return in the coming weeks, too, having rejoined training ahead of the Merseyside derby, while Mohamed Salah is also fit and available.
Slowly but surely, Liverpool’s attacking options are increasing, and the hope will be that they can all stay fit for a vital second half of the season.
It is easy to overlook how important Diaz is to the side, though there cannot be too much pressure on the No. 23 when he makes his return.