Arsene Wenger believes Liverpool scouts deserve praise for adding another gem to Jürgen Klopp’s starting XI in Luis Diaz after he scored on his return to Portugal.
The Colombian is joyous to watch. His second touch of the ball against Benfica was a no-look pass to Sadio Mane – a sign of his confidence as he returned to the league that earned him his big break.
Arsene Wenger says Luis Diaz ‘looks special’ after MOTM display
He was named UEFA’s Man of the Match after scoring and assisting, earning an 8.61 rating from WhoScored in what felt like a genuine turning point for the exciting forward.
Sadio Mane interrupted Luis Diaz's interview to show him some love ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0W2o0S8t8X
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While he has hit the ground running in many departments, he has struggled to match his entertaining style of play, industry and intelligence with goals and assists.
Yet Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Benfica, a game in which he never seemed too far from the ball, really encapsulated why Klopp rates Luis Diaz so highly as the winger delivered a complete display.
Speaking to beIN Sports, Wenger wasn’t shy in revealing his admiration, not just for Diaz, but for several of Liverpool’s key players as well as the Reds’ scouting department.
He said: “I would give 10 out of 10 to the scouts. Nothing was wrong there, from [Mohamed] Salah and Mane to [Virgil] van Dijk.
“Now Diaz – Diaz looks special. Unbelievable what they’ve done.
“The only guy who didn’t integrate as well as we expected from the start on was Thiago, a little bit [Naby] Keita. It took them some time to adjust to the Premier League pace. They’ve done extremely well, Liverpool.”
Midfield support allowed Diaz to flourish
Jordan Henderson’s exclusion from the starting XI allowed Naby Keita to start with the world-class pairing of Thiago and Fabinho.
On paper, it’s Liverpool’s best midfield.
It has the pressing, passing, balance and penetration needed to beat most teams in the world and allowed the likes of Luis Diaz to play their natural game with plenty of support from deep.
WhoScored stats paint the full picture.
Diaz had a 92% pass accuracy which is incredible when it feels as though every second pass is a no-look attempt!
He played one key pass in the game which was his assist to Sadio Mane for what turned out to be the winner.
He was also only dispossessed twice and so all in all, his ball retention was fantastic.