When Luis Diaz fired through at goal in added time at Molineux on Saturday, only Jose Sa’s fingertips prevented the Colombian from rounding off a scintillating second-half performance in the West Midlands.
By that time, Liverpool had overcome their latest dose of Premier League adversity as Cody Gakpo, Andy Robertson and Harvey Elliott all found the back of the net to fire the Reds back to the top of the table, albeit briefly, for the first time since May 2022.
As one of four South American players to have only returned to Merseyside in the early hours of Thursday, Diaz was effectively afforded the morning off in the Black Country as Liverpool lined up with Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah in the attack.
Arriving as a half-time substitute, though, the Colombian’s introduction was absolutely worth the wait as he immediately provided an uplift to a side that had lethargically gone through the motions during an abject first-half display.
And within 90 seconds of the restart, Diaz was nearly wheeling away in celebration as explosively stole a yard on Craig Dawson to head Robertson’s cross just wide of the near post.
Apart from a flurry of chances for Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai before the break, it was the closest Jurgen Klopp’s side had come to drawing level.
Minutes later and it was his creation of space in a central area that led to Gakpo restoring parity in the West Midlands as the Colobian’s ball trickled through to Jota, who later found Salah on the right-hand side of the box.
There the Egyptian drilled his effort across the box for the Dutch to prod home, in what was his last act before being replaced by Darwin Nunez.
In the absence of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s forward line was largely starved of attacking service in the first half with Joe Gomez attacking as Liverpool’s creator-in-chief as he was unexpectedly tasked with inverting into central areas when his side was in possession.
But after Diaz’s introduction, Liverpool thrived off his persistence to isolate full-back Nelson Semedo in wide areas in the hope of supplying Gakpo, Jota and Salah, as well as Darwin Nunez shortly after.
In doing so, Liverpool’s No.7 completed 77% of his passes in the attacking third as well as having three attempts at goal.
Speaking earlier in the week, Diaz had praised the way in which Klopp had fine-tuned his game since he completed an initial £37m move to Anfield in January 2021.
“Working with Jurgen [Klopp] has improved me hugely,” said Diaz. “He has made me a better player. The work he and the coaching staff have done has been absolutely fantastic. They’ve improved me tactically and physically and it’s all about giving 100% in every single game.
“It’s all about improving day on day. But if I was picking a particular area [to improve], it would probably be my decision-making.
“I think it’s an area I’ve got a lot better in but there is always room for improvement. Also, my tactical knowledge is something I’d like to grow.”
Into his third season at Anfield, Diaz is clearly reaping the rewards of his manager’s effort and with goals against Chelsea and Bournemouth and an impressive cameo at Molineux to go with, it promises to be a big campaign ahead for the Reds’ latest No.7.