Liverpool never had any doubts that Luis Diaz would fit in immediately, with Jurgen Klopp explaining he wants the winger to play his “natural” game.
Diaz joined Liverpool in January in a big-money move from Porto, for whom he had already scored 16 goals across all competitions this season.
Everton wanted to sign the attacker in August 2021 while Tottenham were thought to be frontrunners in January, only for the Reds to pip them to the post.
Since Diaz made his debut as a substitute in the FA Cup win over Cardiff City at the start of February, the Colombia international has featured 12 times, with no other Liverpool player playing on more occasions in that time.
He has scored twice, with those goals coming in Premier League wins over Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion, creating 11 chances for team-mates, the fifth-most in Liverpool’s squad.
Only Mohamed Salah (95) has had more touches in the opposition box than Diaz (69), whose energetic and aggressive pressing has seen him settle in quickly to Klopp’s set-up.
Of Liverpool attackers, just Roberto Firmino (12) has attempted more tackles than Diaz’s eight, with the winger having a 100 per cent success rate. Indeed, his 113 duels is also a team-high, with only Fabinho having won more (58 compared to 51).
Klopp and his staff had no concerns over Diaz’s ability, but the Liverpool manager has stressed the importance of allowing the 25-year-old to play his own game.
“Every coach would say the same about a January signing. You do it, but if you could, you would do it in the summer,” he told Sky Sports.
“There is a reason why you sign a player. The reason is the quality that he has. The reason is the way that he is playing the game.
“With Luis, where it has been really special is that when we saw him we knew that he would fit in immediately. That is really difficult usually but because he did not have to change, that is why we have a really confident boy here.
“He was in a really good moment with Porto, playing good for Colombia, and so he came here full of confidence. But what we tried to make sure is that he does not lose that because of the playbook as we tell him that he has to do this and he has to do that.
“We want him to be natural. It was clear from the first moment that we saw him that he would be a player who could play immediately, on a specific level, if he could deal with it mentally.”
It has been a superb start to life at Anfield for Diaz, who has already helped seal an EFL Cup triumph.
“Nothing has happened yet,” warned Klopp. “Yes, the start has been really good. But he is a long-term project for us and we are a long-term project for him.
“There is loads more to come.”