Alexander-Arnold clearly doesn’t fancy going up against one Liverpool player!
In a Liverpool game that had been forcibly hammered into the shape of an attritional battle of scraps and yardage on Sunday, it took one moment of Luis Diaz magic to light up the Merseyside derby.
The incident came not long after his introduction from the bench. After an hour of one of the most drab and uninspiring Liverpool spectacles of the entire season, the Colombia international pulled off a touch that was totally out of sync with the dreary fixture it had been up until then.
Receiving a long pass out to the left flank, Diaz decided to control with his heel as he leaped up into the air to cushion it perfectly before bringing it down neatly and running at Everton right-back Seamus Coleman.
It was an outrageous piece of skill that quickly encapsulated everything Diaz has been about since he joined late in the January transfer window.
“Wow!” said Jamie Carragher on commentary. “Luis Diaz! What was that!?”
What it was, in fact, was simply a world-class winger playing with full confidence, uninhibited by the game’s status as a local derby between two fierce and historic neighbors. “So what?” was the message from Diaz.
The South American has been a mid-season revelation at Anfield since he joined Liverpool from Porto in a deal that could rise to as much as £50 million.
“I saw the manager say something like he’s never seen anyone love training so much!” Alexander-Arnold says of the Colombia international.”You can see that. He absolutely loves it. He’s so enthusiastic, he’s so energetic and he’s an outstanding lad. I think when we do have to mark him in training, I’ll be saying to Robbo: ‘Your turn!'”
Diaz making an instant impact has added a significant boost to Liverpool’s quadruple hopes
Anfield sources indicated to this reporter in January that he would have to be a “huge success” if Liverpool were to eventually pay the fee in full after striking a deal worth an initial £37m, but just a few months into his tenure with the Reds, that may not be looking so far-fetched now, whatever the terms and specifics are.
Diaz has provided Liverpool with an extra spring in their step since the start of February and while many believed he would be a medium-to-long-term replacement for Sadio Mane down the left, the 25-year-old has actually already taken the Senegalese superstar’s place.
But if that sounds like bad news for Mane, he has unquestionably been given a fresh lease of life at Liverpool too due to Diaz’s arrival, he is now flourishing as a centre-forward since the signing of the ex-Porto man.
That’s why, alongside Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and, of course, Mohamed Salah, Liverpool might just possess all the firepower, skill and creativity in the final third to go all the way in their quadruple pursuit.
“We know that we are pretty much obliged to win every game between now and the end of the season and we know there’s no margin for error for us,” Diaz says on that front.”Each competition is different, each trophy is different and every game is different within those competitions, particularly the Premier League. We’re treating everyone like a final and we know what we’ve got to do.”If and when the coaching staff call upon me, of course I’ll be ready and willing at all times, just like any other player that they decide to bring into the line-up.”So here’s hoping I can carry on in the same way, playing well and performing in the right manner so that things go well for the team. I’m here to help.”
Virgil van Dijk adds:
“Luis has come in and has done an outstanding job as well. So we are really enjoying his quality and I think he is definitely feeling good and showing a lot of confidence. Long may that continue and long may he get even better than he is right now.”
Diaz, as evidenced by his derby-day impudence, is probably as fearless as they come on the pitch. The next few weeks of Liverpool’s season will probably show us just how much too.