Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Luis Diaz can score 10-15 goals a season if he takes on the role vacated by Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich.
The Colombian has scored six goals in 26 games after joining Benfica from Benfica in January when the change began in the Reds’ forward line, but he is now expected to start every week given the 25-year-old there is greater responsibility.
Diaz had ruled out an offside goal and hit the woodwork in the 2-2 draw with Fulham in the Premier League opener. He is expected to complement goals from Mohamed Salah and new signing Darwin Nunez, who has scored twice in his first two appearances.
“Oh definitely, that’s his quality. We’ll have to see, but of course that’s his potential,” said Klopp when asked if Diaz could score 10-15 goals this season.
“We’re working on it, but not with Luis specifically – we’re not taking him out because the other two scored and he wasn’t, so we’re showing him how to do it. No need.
“It’s not a problem. You can’t force it. We talked about people asking ‘how can you play without Sadio?’ last week when everyone was thinking about when he would score the next goal in November/December. You just leave it.
“You see the situations he’s had (against Fulham), big chances and he was just unlucky. He’s in really good shape and that’s more important.
“It’s not like I tell him after a game, ‘You should have scored here or there’. The boys know that now. It happens. It’s a normal process.
“The way we play should help the strikers, the way we play should help the back line of defenders because everyone is involved.
“That’s also a bit of why midfielders are seen as not scoring enough because they’re involved in holding everything together. The potential is definitely there.”
Klopp admits Diaz is not an equal replacement for Mane, who has scored 120 goals in 269 games and has one goal in his first two games for his new club.
He also knows the team will have to adjust to a new way of working with the striker.
“He’s definitely improved because he understands what we’re doing, but then that also leads to weird situations because we want to be flexible on the wings and that means he has to be a little more indoors, but then you realize that it’s good for him if he stays out longer.
“We have to get used to that and that will help, but unfortunately a learning process never happens overnight.
“He obviously has the quality and the potential. He just needs a goal and then we’ll go on.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/jurgen-klopp-luis-diaz-premier-league-liverpool-fulham-b2144995.html Jurgen Klopp backs Luis Diaz to score Liverpool goals