LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool's Luis Díaz during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Colombia steps up search for Luis Diaz’s father – fears he is in Venezuela

Colombian police are searching a mountain range in the north of the country for the kidnapped father of Liverpool forward Luis Diaz.

Diaz’s mother has been rescued but the Colombian authorities have stepped up the search for his father, with the player having returned home to be with family members.

Police have been carrying out aerial patrols across the Perija mountain range, which straddles the border with Venezuela and is covered by a forest.

In a post on social media, Colombian police director general William Salamanca was shown visiting the operation in order to “recognise our commandos for their bravery and commitment to rescue him safe and sound”.

Police have offered a reward worth around £39,000 for information leading to the rescue of Luis Manuel Diaz.

On Monday Salamanca urged caution with regards to reports that Luis Manuel might already have been taken into Venezuela, pointing to the difficulty of crossing the Perija mountains.

Both FIFA and the Colombia Football Federation have offered support to Diaz, 26, while Liverpool allowed the player to return home.

Speaking after Sunday’s 3-0 home win over Nottingham Forest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said preparation for the game had been “the most difficult I’ve ever had in my life”.

Klopp added: “I didn’t expect that, I wasn’t prepared for it. I don’t want to make the game bigger than it was, but definitely, we tried to help Luis with the fight we put in because obviously we want to help and we cannot really help.

“So the only thing we can do is fight for him and that’s what the boys did.”

Liverpool said in a statement: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm it is aware of an ongoing situation involving the family of Luis Diaz in Colombia.

“It is our fervent hope that the matter is resolved safely and at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, the player’s welfare will continue to be our immediate priority.”

Liverpool signed Diaz from Porto in January 2022 in an initial £37.5million deal that included a potential extra £12.5million in add-ons.