ExcerptInside Liverpool's scouting of 'game-changer' Luis Diaz
Liverpool had 'no doubt' about the potential of Luis Diaz to enhance the team's level as they scouted the Colombian last season, Pepijn Lijnders reveals in his new book.
The Reds completed a deal to sign the forward on a long-term contract from FC Porto in January and he would, of course, go on to shine as they lifted the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup while also finishing runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.
Diaz made 26 appearances and scored six goals during the second half of the season, delivering on the promise that had convinced the club to swoop for him.
In Intensity – Lijnders’ real-time account of the remarkable 2021-22 campaign, which is released on Thursday August 4 – the assistant manager shares details of the scouting process that made Diaz the top choice to add to Jürgen Klopp’s side.
Read the excerpt from the book below…
Our scouting department makes very useful videos about the players who could be interesting for our team. We know the ones we really like a long time before it’s in the media. The videos contain 15 minutes of analysis about their strengths and weaknesses, but on top of this I always want to watch full games of the ones I really like – the full 95-minute clip, the truth, the phases, the reactions to phases. This was my very last report about Diaz when Porto played away against Estoril…
‘While preparing pressing, he reads where the next pass goes to intercept, runs with all he has in these moments. He smells these chances to intercept close to the opposition goal. Never stops. Wants to defend forward. Love that…’
‘Can move more often without the ball in behind when the ball is ‘free’ from out the back. Moments he does that are with good timing but can be with more surprise. Great touch and control of the ball. Inside the box skill to create shots. Can dribble, goes easily, outplay/slides left and right passing the defenders. In a small space with full speed tries to find the better option to pass. Love that. Always overview. Love that. Always in relation to score. Love that. Goes one-on-one to shoot from distance, what is good for our game…’
‘Positions himself naturally in respect to the outside triangle. Adjusts easily to positioning of others. Ball opposite side can be more active finding space behind the last line. Needs to add idea to attack through the centre as well, more active to attack through inside. This will give him more striker movements as well, with this more goals…’
‘Counter-press impulse will improve easily within our style and training. Will become more intense with this. More aggressive with this. By FAR the best player. I HAVE NO DOUBT…’
Jürgen responded to this report with: “He is a game-changer.” I texted back: “Absolutely, literally for them and figuratively for us.” We hoped we could get the deal done.
Read a second excerpt from Intensity on Liverpoolfc.com on Tuesday – as Lijnders reveals a letter to Klopp that changed his life – and pre-order the book now here.