Luis Diaz: Analysis of Liverpool winger after Carabao Cup win over Chelsea

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A month into his Liverpool career and Luis Diaz is already lifting trophies. The January signing was one of his side’s most impressive performers in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea, with Jamie Carragher calling him Liverpool’s best player on the day.

Against Chelsea, he was a constant attacking threat down the left. He attempted the most dribbles, had the most touches in the box and, perhaps surprisingly, received more passes from Liverpool defenders than any other player.

His presence also appeared to adjust Liverpool’s preference of attacking down the right. This is something they have done in the Premier League more than any other side this season but, during Sunday’s final, Diaz’s left flank was clearly favoured.

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No-look passes, tricks and a constant urge to take on defenders are features of his game that will thrill fans, as they did against Chelsea, but his end product will make a difference for Liverpool. Judging by his statistics in Portugal this season, there will be plenty of that accompanying his natural flair.

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool from Wembley stadium

At Porto, and in his very early Liverpool career, Diaz has essentially provided a quadruple threat of problems for defenders. His ability to persistently shoot, create, dribble and still be effective in the air, is an attacking combination rarely seen to this extent.

Combining his returns at both clubs, he averages at least three shots, two chances created, dribbles completed and aerials won per 90 minutes this season. To put that into context, that is something no player to play substantial time in a Premier League season has ever done since Opta started collecting this data in 2003. Most of that was achieved in Portugal, but he’s continued those averages during his short time in England.

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Maintaining this shot involvement will boost Liverpool around the penalty area, though his aerial ability also provides flexibility in terms of approach, especially from a wider role. This may well have been the reason for receiving so many passes from his defenders – many of them long – against Chelsea.

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Image: Luis Diaz opened his Premier League account in a 3-1 win over Norwich last month

The only questions from Diaz’s Porto resume might be the lack of work he was required to do off the ball – though his early showings at Liverpool suggest this may well have been tactical over any kind of weakness. Since making his debut, just one Premier League player has won possession in the attacking third more often.

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With a top speed faster than any of Liverpool’s attacking options timed in this season’s Champions League, Diaz has the rounded game to boost any attack. Ominously for the rest of the Premier League, his new attack is already the division’s leading unit – and by some margin.

Using expected goals per game, taking out the potential distortion of penalties, Liverpool’s return stands out in every area. Against the rest of the Premier League this season, they are creating far more than any other side per game. Their total even doubles many clubs.

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We take a look at Luis Diaz’s best moments for Liverpool so far including his first Premier League goal against Norwich

Assessing that return against Jurgen Klopp’s previous years at Liverpool, this season has been far and away the most effective in terms of creating chances. Then, finally, comparing it against any other attack in the 12 seasons Opta have recorded this data – this is the Premier League’s best attack in that time.

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By adding Diaz to the mix – a player capable of boosting that return in numerous ways, both in approach and end product – Liverpool can potentially lift one of the Premier League’s greatest attacks to formidable new highs.

If this season’s title race eventually comes down to Liverpool’s attack against Manchester City’s defence, the arrival of Diaz might just prove to be the decisive moment.

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