Luis Diaz's journey to Liverpool

In profileLuis Diaz's journey to Liverpool

Published 30th January 2022
By Chris Shaw

Get to know Liverpool's new No.23 with our in-depth career profile of Colombia international Luis Diaz, who has signed a long-term contract to join the club from FC Porto subject to a work permit and international clearance.

Born in Barrancas on January 13, 1997, the attacker – full name Luis Fernando Diaz Marulanda – first came to football prominence in his home country when he participated at the Copa America of Indigenous People in 2015.

As a result of his performances at the tournament in Chile, where Colombia finished runners-up and he scored twice, Diaz linked up with Barranquilla FC of the Colombian second tier and, such was his talent, the club – which fielded teams in U17 and U20 divisions that were unsuitable for his age – created a completely new U18s side for him and others to play in.

Luis’ graduation to the elder of those age groups was swift, though, and a senior debut for Barranquilla arrived in April 2016, followed by a first goal – also the winner – at that level the next month.

His ascent was very much under way and after racking up 42 appearances at Barranquilla, top-flight outfit Junior brought him into their set-up during 2017.

It was a hugely beneficial switch for Diaz, who was part of the team that lifted the Copa Colombia in November that year and rapidly established himself as a regular in the starting XI.

Luis played 38 league games during 2018, including 28 starts, and provided 13 goals for Junior as they were crowned champions in the second stage of the campaign, including a strike in the first leg of the final.

He had also been a key figure in their journey to the Copa Sudamericana showpiece, netting three times along the way, which they narrowly lost to Athletico Paranaense of Brazil in a penalty shootout after 1-1 draws in each of two meetings.

By the next summer, and having been a mainstay in Junior’s run to the Colombian Apertura – opening stage – title in the first half of the year, Diaz had caught the attention of European clubs, with several fighting to gain his signature.

Porto won that race ahead of the 2019-20 campaign and Luis’ progress would accelerate again during his time with the Dragons in Portugal.

He played 50 matches in all competitions during his debut season with Porto, scoring 14 goals and gaining his first experience in the Champions League and Europa League.

By the end of that campaign the forward was clutching two more winner’s medals, too, as Sergio Conceicao’s side won the Primeira Liga by five points and then completed a domestic double by claiming the Portuguese cup.

Though Porto were unable to repeat those successes collectively in 2020-21, Diaz’s numbers remained consistent – 11 goals from 47 games – while proving his credentials at Champions League level, including a stunning solo effort at Manchester City, as they reached the quarter-finals.

And his reputation has only soared since last summer, due to a stunning streak of form.

Three years on from making his senior Colombia debut, he was joint-top scorer at the Copa America (level on four strikes with a certain Lionel Messi) and named in the Team of the Tournament as he helped his country finish third.

His brilliant volley against Brazil was later shortlisted for the 2021 FIFA Puskas Award.

And that performance level continued to surge into the current club campaign, Luis bagging 14 goals in 18 league appearances as Porto raced clear at the top in Portugal without losing a match and two more during a UCL group stage in which he faced the Reds twice.

Now the right-footer, who has primarily been used on the left flank throughout his career so far, will be utilising his pace, dribbling prowess and lethal shot from short and long range for Liverpool after agreeing personal terms and completing a medical over the weekend.

Diaz departs Porto having provided 60 goal contributions (41 goals and 19 assists) in 125 appearances across two-and-a-half seasons.

With Luis set to link up with Jürgen Klopp’s squad following the current international break, where he is on World Cup qualifying duty for Colombia, Reds supporters can begin counting down the days to seeing the club’s exciting new recruit in action.

Published 30th January 2022