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Liverpool can match Sadio Mané output in new way as Jürgen Klopp will soon get own Son Heung-min

 

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Luis Díaz’s overall performance in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Fulham was perhaps a little underwhelming.

Of all the Reds’ starters, only Roberto Firmino (34) recorded fewer touches, and Díaz, who matched Alisson’s 37, was on the pitch for nearly half an hour longer. The ECHO rated it at a six out of 10 display, as did The Evening Standard, while The i gave it a mere five (ratings via This is Anfield).

But it was so nearly a very different story. Shortly before half-time, Díaz received the ball from Thiago around 16 yards from goal, and dragged it down the outside of right-back Kenny Tete before unleashing a ferocious shot from the corner of the six-yard box that clattered the crossbar.

Tete looked almost surprised that Díaz had taken the external route given his predominant tendency to cut inside onto his favoured right foot.

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Indeed, 15 minutes into the game, he had done exactly that, evading the Dutchman and whipping the ball around Tosin Adarabioyo into the bottom right corner. Regrettably, the flag went up for an offside against Andy Robertson in the build-up.

In the end, these proved to be nothing more than nearly moments, with Díaz unable to fire Liverpool to victory. But for the rest of the Premier League, they were still a little scary.

The Reds’ rivals likely celebrated the departure of Sadio Mané, who established himself as one of the best forwards in the world during his time at Anfield.

If Díaz is to match Mané’s output — and he’s capable of doing so — he’ll have to take higher-percentage shots from better positions, as explained here.

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That remains the case, but it’s also true that this is a player whose magnificent shooting skills can make him something of an xG buster. Indeed, Díaz scored 17 goals for Porto in the first half of last season from an xG of just 12.2, producing a spectacular reel of audacious efforts.

He has the tools to emulate Son-Heung min, another left-winger who has scored above expectation in each of the past five seasons (by an average of 4.3).

 

When you watch back his 41 goals for Porto, you see him more or less replicate his finish for last weekend’s disallowed goal five times. It almost reminds you of Philippe Coutinho’s patented strikes.

 

Díaz is one of those players whose goals usually go viral, and he might just have added a new weapon to his explosive arsenal.

Earlier this year, he scored against Estoril by taking the lesser-trodden outside route and lashing home with his left. Having used a similar ploy against Fulham and almost found joy, it seems he’s adding variety to his game and becoming even more difficult to defend.

 

The expectation is that Díaz’s headline numbers will improve dramatically this term after a steady start, and his unique gifts should serve him well. The Colombian can generate immense power with both feet, but he can also score supremely elegant, unsaveable curlers.

Díaz has arguably been Liverpool’s best-performing attacker since he joined, and while his level dipped somewhat at Craven Cottage, he still fired two warning signs to the rest of the Premier League.

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