Luis Diaz's return is big for Jurgen Klopp - the Colombian has been the biggest loser from Liverpool's dreadful season
Of all the losers from Liverpool’s quite dreadful season, Luis Diaz has been perhaps the biggest. When the Colombian went down with a knee injury at Arsenal in October, the Reds were still a team with a big reputation and lofty ambitions. Sure, they’d made a slow start to the campaign, but that was only a temporary blip, right?
Once they came through it they’d be back at the top of the Premier League, and back competing for trophies, right? Right?
Not quite. For as Diaz prepares to make his long-awaited, and significantly-delayed, comeback against Leeds United on Monday night, he returns to a team, a club, that is almost unrecognisable from the one he left behind in the autumn.
Out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage and out of both domestic cups by the end of January, Liverpool head into this weekend eighth in the Premier League, 29 points behind leaders Arsenal and 12 off even a top-four place. They are closer to the bottom of the table than they are the top, and have lost more league games this season than they did in the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2021-22 campaigns combined.
Good luck then, Luis. Diaz is known as an upbeat, infectious personality - “water in the desert,” as assistant manager Pep Lijnders memorably called him - and he’ll need all the positive energy he can muster if he is to breathe some life, belatedly, into a team that has collapsed without him.