Football fans usually have this misconception that January signings are never successful. But in Liverpool, that is clearly not the case.
The Reds have, if anything, defied that pattern over the past ten years. Liverpool’s January investments, from Luis Suárez to Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, and Virgil van Dijk, have reaped major rewards as opposed to misery and wasted potential.
Given Luis Diaz’s transformative influence in his first six months at Anfield, the Reds’ most recent January signing will no doubt compare favorably to the aforementioned players in years to come.
Six goals and five assists in 26 games may not seem like a standout performance on paper, but the numbers don’t truly reflect his explosive impact on the team. Last season, Diáz lit up every turf the Reds visited, and his raucous energy and never-ending flair made Liverpool a more intriguing and dangerous team.
The intriguing part is that for the Colombian, this was just the beginning. As has frequently been the case with Liverpool’s previous January signings, it took him some time to adjust at Porto before he was able to explode and fully spread his wings.
Suárez, for instance, may have blazed Anfield with his fierce styles and skills, but his output was far from that, scoring just four goals in his first six months at the club. But the next year, in 39 games, he scored 17 goals, with 9 assists, and also ended the campaign as the Reds’ leading scorer.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Daz have a comparable effect. Sadio Mané was often the focal point of the Liverpool attack last season, but with his departure, things will change, and Diaz might benefit from that. The Colombian also scored about 1.50 goals fewer than predicted last season, bringing his total to 7.52 xG.
That hasn’t been the case for Diaz in previous Liga NOS campaigns with Porto, where the Colombian has consistently been capable of completing challenging long-range finishes and outperform his expected goals. Given that this has been a long-standing trend, it is reasonable to anticipate that he will do same in Liverpool.
Diaz already showed promise in the pre-season match against Manchester United by hitting two powerful shots that nearly found the back of the net. This could become a staple of his game moving forward. Diaz has all he needs to succeed next season after settling into life at Anfield. Liverpool may not even need to rely on Darwin Nunez to replace Mané’s goals; Diaz by himself might be enough.