Jurgen Klopp reflecting on Luis Diaz’s first few displays in a Liverpool were probably enough to spark jealously from some in west London.
“We wanted the player because we saw him playing and thought it’d be easy to fit him in.” After their 6-0 hammering of Leeds in midweek, the Liverpool boss said.
“For us, it’s the way he has to defend that is really important because the way we defend is definitely different to Porto. But his offensive movements are really natural like they are now.”
The thought of fitting in and execution of it are two things that have seemed pretty far apart for Chelsea’s biggest signings since 2020. Either through injury, style of play, system or form.
The awkward integration of Romelu Lukaku since his £97m signing last summer probably is the clearest indication of this.
Dias has already proven to fulfil the tactical requirements of Klopp’s system despite not having tons of conversations with the German since his £37m signing from Porto in January.
“We had a chance to talk to him a lot. Not myself, but Vitor Matos and Pep Lijnders, obviously [speak] Portuguese.
“But we usually do it like that if the player’s natural way to play is the same way we do, we only give a few [pieces of] information.”
Diaz netted his first Liverpool goal against Norwich last weekend in the 3-1 victory at Anfield and already looks to be another attacker who could offer consistent productivity to an already prolific cast.
Speaking with Liverpool.com editor Matt Addison preceding Sunday’s Carabao Cup final at Wembley, I asked about the Columbian’s early performances at the club and how he fits into the club’s transfer strategy.
“Diaz has been really impressive in little bits so far,” he said. “He’s not quite put together a full performance; there’s been a goal or a little moment at times where he’s done stuff.”
The lack of time needed for a detailed breakdown of Liverpool’s style further reflects the careful recruitment process that has led to consistent success in the transfer market.
“It’s not like they’ve told him – they haven’t had time, they’ve not had the training sessions to instil the way Liverpool play in him.
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“That’s just how he is, and I think that’s a real testament to recruitment that they’ve managed to find Jota, managed to find Diaz – when you think of how good Salah, Mane and Firmino were at their peaks, to find the next version of those without really needing any adaptation period I think is a sign they know exactly what they’re doing.”
At Chelsea, it has appeared to be the inverse on several players. Bought either because of an opportunity or profile, many of Chelsea’s current attackers look out of place or limited in their capacity to execute Tuchel’s pressing plan.
Whether it be Lukaku’s history as a striker that had thrived in counter-attacking systems for Everton, Belgium and Inter Milan or Timo Werner doing similar at RB Leipzig, there appears to be a wide gap between the profiles Chelsea invest in and if they perfectly fit the system being preferred by the current coach.
This also comes to the profile or hype surrounding a player. As a top club, Chelsea tends to lean towards more obvious targets that have more considerable reputations.
Despite never playing a minute of Premier League football and a horrendous injury record at Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele might seem more fashionable than a Jarrod Bowen at West Ham or Raphinha at Leeds – players that have proven highly effective in England’s top tier.
Klopp shows why Chelsea must prioritise the system over individuals and focus on players that elevate Chelsea’s style rather than the other way around.
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