Football

Liverpool: Luis Diaz took a three-man lead to the next level

22 Apr 2022 | 08:02

When Liverpool completed the £50m signing of Luis Diaz from Porto at the end of January, it seemed like a smart move.

Plan ahead for next season, when they have a more realistic chance to challenge Manchester City for Premier League titles, and future-proofing if protracted contract negotiations with Mohamed Salah do not come to the desired conclusion.

Just seven weeks ahead and the Colombian is unlikely to make more of an impact at Anfield.

From 9 points against the leader City, although there is still a game in hand, to a point. Carabao Cup Winner, FA Cup final, Champions League semi-final.

It’s hard to remember a better mid-season appearance, in terms of instant success, since another Luis moved to Merseyside in 2011. Diaz’s four goals are as many as Suarez’s in half the season. his first league with the club. Throw in his two assists and the overall effect on the team cannot be quantified in terms of goals alone and we’re looking at it. the best ever signed January?

Should he help lead Liverpool to an unbelievable and unprecedented quarter-final, what else can be disputed?

January ‘a bad time for signings’

As with the signing of Suarez more than a decade ago, Liverpool brought in Virgil van Dijk in January 2018. Unlike Diaz, it took him some time to adapt to Jurgen Klopp’s side, but has become the best central defender in world football.

But other clubs seem to dismiss the January moves. Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick warns the window is “not ideal for sustainable business” when asked around Christmas – but are some teams missing out on a trick?

Should we be surprised by the impact of Diaz?

We know Liverpool take fundamental data very seriously. As the Reds lift the title in 2020, the club told journalists their unsung data science heroes are working in the background to deliver their first ever Premier League title. .

Diaz will immediately land on their radar. The 25-year-old tore through the Portuguese Primeira Liga earlier this season with 13 goals in 17 league games, with expected target (xG) the total is particularly remarkable.

Data from Infogol shows that in Diaz’s 17 games for Porto this season, he’s scored a baker’s 10 from xG of 8.70, a 49% excess performance. Diaz’s XG every 90 minutes 0.55 in the first half of the campaign is ridiculously high, an unsustainable hot streak in a league far behind the Premier League.

While we’re working with a small sample size, Diaz’s 0.55 xGI/95 (xG + xA) from his opening eight games for Liverpool is impressive.

What it delivers, however, clearly shows how good the rest of Liverpool’s attack is.

He is equal to Roberto Firmino, but behind Sadio Mane (0.77), Diogo Jota (0.93) and Salah (1.14) with particularly amazing numbers in the Egyptian Premier League.

Diaz’s impact has in fact caused a lot of sensation, but he is still ranked as Liverpool’s least innovative attacking player in terms of goal-related ability, only to further cement their position. As a single strong offensive team, one capable of completing a fourth inning seemed impossible.

Sometimes, though, it’s good to admit that it’s not all about the data, not just in terms of eye exams but in the practical sense of how much rotation Klopp can currently make with the money trio. their own, taking them to a whole new level of consistency.

The best January signing ever of a season that is quickly becoming Liverpool’s greatest.

And still not a guaranteed starter.

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