Liverpool news Klopp summed up Lijnders' instinct about Diaz Liverpool transfer in four words PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Pep Lijnders has offered a fascinating insight into his scouting report on Luis Diaz before his Liverpool transfer - and how Jurgen Klopp reacted to it
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! With some football clubs, it feels like their scouting process consists entirely of signing players who might shift a few replica shirts or help their fans gloat on social media. Little consideration is given to how they will suit the team and help it improve. Liverpool are far more methodical in their business. They employ data experts to analyse potential targets, looking far beyond simple numbers like goals and assists. Any signing still needs the approval of the manager, though. In an excerpt from his excellent new book ‘Intensity: Inside Liverpool FC - Our Identity’, the Reds’ assistant manager Pep Lijnders explains how he scouted Luis Diaz earlier this year. It makes for very interesting reading having now seen Diaz in action for Liverpool. READ MORE: Jurgen Klopp ‘broken promise’ led to £12.5m Liverpool transfer READ MORE: What happened after Man City win exposes truth about Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool The match Lijnders writes about was Porto’s 3-2 victory at Estoril, a game in which they had to come from 2-0 down at half-time. Bear in mind the fixture took place on January 8, just three weeks prior to the completion of the transfer. He could barely have picked a better match, at least from Diaz’s perspective. Early in the second half the Colombian created a chance for Evanilson. His shot was saved, but Mehdi Taremi followed up to score. Diaz then grabbed the equaliser himself before assisting the winner in the 89th minute. While such moments inevitably make the highlights reel, Lijnders was unsurprisingly interested in the transfer target’s work rate and defensive abilities. “While preparing pressing, he reads where the next pass goes to intercept, runs with all he has in these moments,” the Reds' number two wrote. “He smells these chances to intercept close to the opposition goal. Never stops. Wants to defend forward. Love that.” Diaz certainly proved that against Estoril. Only Otavio (himself linked with Liverpool this year) made more ball recoveries from Porto’s midfielders and attackers. Lijnders also added that the winger’s “counter-press impulse will improve easily within our style and training. Will become more intense with this.
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. And indeed he has. Diaz averaged 1.1 possession regains in the final third per 90 minutes in the Primeira Liga last season, but 1.4 in England’s top division. It’s tantalising to ponder how much further he can push things now he has had a pre-season with Jurgen Klopp, Lijnders and the other coaches. This isn’t the only aspect of Diaz’s play which has seen a change that the scouting report predicted either. For his goal, he forced home a low shot from the left side of the box. However, Lijnders noted he could improve in this regard. “Needs to add idea to attack through the centre as well, more active to attack through inside. This will give him more striker movements as well, with this more goals,” he wrote. The ‘more goals’ side of the equation has yet to appear. Diaz has almost matched his 0.40 goals per 90 minutes career average in league football with Liverpool, if not yet matching the hot streak he enjoyed with Porto last season. But further improvement should follow. Lijnders suggested in his report that the 25-year-old needed to attack centrally and, sure enough, all six of his goals for the Reds have been scored from within the width of the six-yard box. Only seven of his 27 Premier League shots from within the penalty area have been in the wide areas he frequented so regularly in Portugal. Diaz’s assist against Estoril probably inspired more of what Pep wrote: “Can dribble, goes easily, outplay/slides left and right passing the defenders. In a small space with full speed tries to find the better option to pass.” With two minutes to go, Diaz dribbled past Bruno Lourenco on the edge of the box. Rather than shooting, he then drove forward and cut the ball back for Francisco Conceicao to score. Andy Robertson was one of the top players in England for cutback threat last season and Diaz can clearly contribute too. As much as Lijnders’ book is certain to be fascinating, perhaps the best line regarding Diaz in the excerpt belongs to Klopp: “Jürgen responded to this report with: “He is a game changer.” He certainly is, and Pep's talent spotting is clearly not bad either. READ NEXT: Darwin Nunez can unleash Naby Keita as Liverpool drop Fabio Carvalho hint Company that held talks over £1bn stake in Liverpool owners FSG to dissolve Two red cards and Steven Gerrard fury as Liverpool friendly descended into chaos Midfielder who left Jurgen Klopp stunned can bring secret attacking weapon to Liverpool Jake Humphrey responds to 'dropped' claims after major BT Sport decision before Liverpool game
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