[Sport] Luis Diaz: How Liverpool's Colombian star made himself a fixture in the starting XI
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Luis Diaz has won the League Cup and the FA Cup with Liverpool since joining in January
When Luis Diaz walked around Wembley, balancing the FA Cup trophy lid on his head and with the man of the match award in his hand, he looked entirely comfortable, like a player who had been at the club for years.
The reality is that he has won two trophies in four months since making the switch from Porto - and he could have a third by the end of the week.
The Colombia international, who was playing in the second tier back home just six years ago, could hardly have dreamt of a better start to his Liverpool career following a £37.5m move in January.
His arrival has elevated Liverpool to another level and, despite the Reds missing out on the Premier League title by one point on the final day of the season, he promises to play a crucial role in their pursuit of a seventh Champions League trophy in Paris on Saturday.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described Diaz as a player who "fits like a glove to our football" after they celebrated their memorable FA Cup victory over Chelsea.
It is what has stood out since Diaz's arrival - he plays in Liverpool's prolific front three as if he had grown up alongside them.
"What a boy. What a story. What a player. He gets our football 100%. I feel lucky," said Klopp. "He fits like a glove to our football and that is really, really special."
With six goals and five assists in his 25 appearances so far, it is easy to see why Liverpool fans have fallen in love with Diaz.
Within two months he had scored and assisted against Manchester United at Anfield, done the same in the Champions League quarter-final win over his old rivals Benfica and set one up against Everton.
By the time the Anfield faithful had created a song for him, he had also scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, netted against Villarreal in the European semi-final and helped his new team win the League Cup.
"You don't expect miracles immediately from these kind of players but he is not far away from doing exactly that. Long may it continue," Klopp told Sky Sportsexternal-link in March.
"There is a reason why you sign a player. The reason is the quality that he has. Where it has been really special is that when we saw him we knew that he would fit in immediately.
"That is really difficult usually, but because he did not have to change, that is why we have a really confident boy. We want him to be natural."
Luis Diaz urged supporters to lift the noise at Anfield after scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham
Diaz's confidence is shown by his performances, but he is clearly enjoying life in Merseyside off the pitch.
After messing around with the FA Cup trophy lid at Wembley, he was seen on social media laughing while playing computer games with goalkeeper Adrian as he was rested for Liverpool's league win at Southampton.
He Facetimed his old Porto team-matesexternal-link to celebrate their title win last week - but made sure he had his Liverpool shirt on.
His English is not great but it does not seem to have made a difference, with Klopp often joking about how they overcome the language barrier.
"He tried for 10 minutes long but I didn't understand a word!" Klopp said in April when asked if Diaz had given the team tips on how to overcome his old Portuguese rivals Benfica.
Diaz looks forward to Klopp's infamous hugs post-match too - the boss has previously joked he shouts "vamos" because he doesn't know what else to say.
"The manager? Incredible! That's a single word you can use for him from the short time we've spent working together," Diaz said last month.external-link
"He tries to ensure all his players are happy, and for me that's very important. He wanted me to know that I had been performing very well up until now and that I should just try to keep on doing more of the same - to play my football with joy and happiness, while obviously incorporating the preferred tactical plans."
Luis Diaz described Jurgen Klopp as a "humble, down-to-earth person"
In an interview with Colombian magazine Semana, Diaz's mother said he was already "maturing" as a person at Liverpool despite not being there long.
"I've seen him the same way since he was a child," she said. "He tells me, 'the manager likes me. When I play my games, he hugs me.'
"He has also been able to get along with his team-mates. They welcome him for being the way he is."
Diaz's market value has rocketed since joining Liverpool and it would be a surprise not to see him start against Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
In a star-studded squad that includes Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota, Diaz has very quickly cemented his position as a starter.
"The thing you can notice and see the most is the intensity of the game here," reflected Diaz. "Tactically how we set up and the fact that I also have to defend might well be the most difficult thing so far.
"I do have that aspect to my game as I spent time playing at Porto and I think I managed to pick up and learn a lot there. I will keep on improving here as well but I'm delighted to have settled in the way that I have."
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