Luis Diaz: A discussion on his football, form and Liverpool future

’s front line has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks.

Mohamed Salah’s future has been under the microscope, as has Diogo Jota’s fitness record, Cody Gakpo’s recent upturn in form and Darwin Nunez’s chances of realising his considerable potential.

Now, attention switches to – the talented left-winger whose energetic performances made him a crowd favourite, but who has endured a quiet season in front of goal and is out of contract in 2027.

Our Walk On podcast experts James Pearce, Andy Jones and Tony Evans debated Diaz’s form and future on this week’s episode. Here, we’ll bring you the best bits from their conversation, with the full episode available on your usual podcast provider.

Tony Evans: The wealth of attackers we thought was going to be the thing that set Liverpool apart this season hasn’t quite worked out that way. Luis Diaz has only eight league goals this season, which is a disappointing return, and his conversion rate is very similar to Nunez’s. In fact, Nunez’s conversion rate in the is 10 per cent and Diaz’s is nine per cent. Do these stats mean anything?

Andy Jones: It’s important to consider it. If you take out Luis Diaz’s injuries and the loss of form, which was largely emotionally charged because of what happened to his father earlier this season, there’s always been a conversation about his numbers – his goal contributions and his output.

In a weird way, I think he’s more of a left midfielder than left-winger sometimes because he comes quite deep. And in the end, he ends up doing a lot of really good stuff almost too far away from the goal. That’s good in one sense because you’re helping your team progress up the pitch.

These touch maps show how Luis Diaz has tried to play further forward this season, with more touches concentrated in more advanced areas.

But equally, look at that game, for example, where he’s got two chances to kill a game off and make it 3-1. He doesn’t take either of those chances. You do wonder if he has that killer instinct. It’s the same question with Nunez – has he got that?

It’s important to consider Diaz’s whole contribution. He’s become really the only attacker that Klopp’s properly been able to trust for pretty much all of 2024. He’s started every league game bar maybe one, which shows the trust he’s got in him. And he has probably been one of the most consistent (players).

But you come back to the output and look at that game where he misses a couple of massive chances within five minutes – Liverpool should win that game because of them. That’s the debate with him – can he take that next step or is this what he is?

James Pearce: It’s just that end product, isn’t it? He is so gifted and can be so exciting to watch. I remember earlier on this season looking at his Liverpool career numbers and it’s about one goal in four. It feels like he should be a lot better than that, particularly playing in a team that creates the number of chances they do and is on the front foot, dominating possession, more often than not.

Yes, there’s been mitigating circumstances. He had the bad knee injury and the horrific issues with his parents earlier in the season. But as much as he’s so pleasing on the eye and non-stop and you could never question his attitude or his application, he just doesn’t hurt teams in the final third enough.

I think where he is different (to Nunez) is that he’s 27 and it’s been two and a half years since Liverpool signed him from Porto. I don’t think it’s any coincidence there’s been this noise about a potential move to Spain.

I think his dad was quoted as saying he was open to the idea of Diaz playing in . And if you’re Diaz’s agent, you’re thinking: “Two and a half years in, aged 27, we want new terms here and a big fat pay rise.”

So that’s where there is another big decision for Edwards and Hughes in the summer. Because what do you do there? At his age, unless you see Diaz really taking you where you want to go in the next two or three years, this would be the time to sell him, if you were ever going to. If you wait two years, you know you’re not going to get anything like the kind of fee you would want for someone of his calibre.

He’s a difficult one because 13 goals (in all competitions) this season is not bad. But for someone like him, who gets into so many great positions, he should be comfortably at 20 goals a season.

Tony Evans: How different could that forward line look next year? We’ve talked about Salah at length on this podcast. With Nunez it’s simple: you’re never going to get a price for him and, personally, I still think there’s potential with him. But with Diaz, you could get some value. Gakpo we think is staying and Jota has injuries, but again, you’d think he’ll be there. Andy, do you see much change in the summer?

Andy Jones: I would be surprised if there was. I think we’re all in agreement that if Mo Salah goes anywhere, it would probably only be Saudi. And it feels like that’s not going to be the case. David Ornstein reported recently that the expectation is he’s going to stay and that Saudi are expecting him to stay as well. So you feel like that one’s off the table.

And I feel Nunez should be given one more year. He’s obviously had two years under Klopp, but you don’t know what Arne Slot is going to do with him. He could be the perfect manager for him. He could flick something in his brain which makes him into the goalscoring killer Liverpool thought they were buying.

So Diaz is probably the most interesting because of the contract situation. Ultimately, Liverpool can’t let everyone go for free and Diaz is in his peak years.

The other interesting part of it is that Slot really likes wingers. Diaz is the one who should seamlessly fit into Slot’s system in the wide areas because of his take-on success and the fact he likes to isolate people and take them on.

You don’t want to make Slot’s first summer too difficult and full of too many decisions. With all the other stuff that’s going on, with the contracts of other players, maybe they’ll think, “Can we leave it one more year?”

But I do feel, with Diaz, it’s either extend or consider selling given he’s the type of player who will command a good fee.

(Top photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)