Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s style of play will ensure Luis Díaz follows the path of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané in becoming a consistent Premier League goalscorer.
The Colombia international has made an impressive impact since arriving from Porto in January although has yet to reproduce the clinical form that delivered 16 goals in 26 games for the Portuguese club last season. Díaz, who scored six goals in 26 appearances for Liverpool in the second half of last season, was frustrated in front of goal at Fulham on the opening day but Klopp is convinced the 25-year-old’s numbers will improve once he adapts fully to the team’s style.
Asked whether Díaz could score 15 goals this season, the Liverpool manager replied: “Definitely, that is his quality. We need to see it but of course that is his potential.” Klopp added: “We work on it but not with Luis specifically – we don’t take him out because the other two scored [Salah and Darwin Núñez] and he didn’t so we show him how. That’s not necessary. You can’t force it. People asked: ‘How can you play without Sadio?’ when in November/December everybody was thinking about when he would score the next goal. You just let it go.
“You see the situations he [Díaz] had [at Fulham], big chances, and he was unlucky. He is in a really good shape and that is more important. It’s not that I tell him after a game, ‘You should have scored here or there’. The boys know that in the moment. It happens. It’s a normal process.”
Salah and Mané both improved immeasurably in front of goal after signing for Klopp and the Liverpool manager believes his system will help Díaz develop in a similar way. Klopp, whose team face Crystal Palace at Anfield on Monday, explained: “It is the way we play. It’s the way we bring the boys in the situation. Of course, it is about whether it is in you or not, but it’s the way we play, how we position the players, how we protect the players, where we win the balls back and how the boys can use their speed in these moments. They will be in a lot of goalscoring situations and that then makes you the player we remember.
“Sadio scored three against us when he played for Southampton but it is not that he scored every week. He didn’t even start the game when he scored three against us. The consistency came with the confidence, with the teammates and with the structure of our game. That is what we are working on. The way we play should help strikers. He [Díaz] obviously has the quality and the potential and if we can put the miles in his legs during pre-season that will help in the long term. That’s what will happen but we are not about the long-term, we are about now. He just needs one goal and then we will go from there.”