Liverpool winger Diaz compared to Suarez by Downing as he makes Salah contract prediction

Luis Diaz Liverpool 2021-22Getty

Luis Diaz’s impressive start to life at Liverpool has been similar to that made by Luis Suarez, according to former Reds winger Stewart Downing, while he also thinks Mohamed Salah will stay at the club.

The Colombian has taken Anfield by storm since his £50 million ($66m) January move from Porto, his arrival giving Jurgen Klopp’s side fresh impetus as they bid for glory in four competitions. 

Diaz has already picked up a Carabao Cup winners’ medal, and has scored twice in 12 appearances so far, but it is his attitude and work-rate, as much as his quality, which has caught the eye on Merseyside.

What’s been said?

Downing, who made 91 appearances for Liverpool between 2011 and 2013, said he has been blown away by Diaz since his switch, and compared the 25-year-old’s impact to that of Suarez.

He told GOAL: “Diaz has been brilliant. The first thing I look at when a player comes to the Premier League is the physicality. How do they handle all that? But he looks like he likes it. He gets stuck in, he bounces straight back up, he goes again. 

“Suarez was a bit like that. He had all the ability in the world, but he had that burning desire as well, never to give up. I look at Diaz and I see that same desire.

“He’s hit the ground running. It helps that the team is winning and he has unbelievable players around him. The manager has been able to dip him in and out, pick and choose which games he starts and when he comes off the bench. 

“He’s been able to find his feet, and he looks like he’s been here for years. It says a lot about him that he’s been able to do that.”

Stewart Downing Luis Diaz Luis Suarez

‘Jota and Diaz have backed themselves’

With Liverpool still in contention for a historic ‘quadruple’ heading into April, squad depth is likely to play a huge role.

Klopp’s side has been criticised in the past for a reliance on certain individuals, in particular its front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

But with Diaz on board, and with Diogo Jota also having established himself as a star since his move from Wolves in 2020, the Reds look to have the options to take on all challenges.

Downing said: “It’s great for us as supporters, but for Jurgen there are so many big decisions coming up in terms of what team to play, how to manage the squad

“In the past we’d look at Mane, Salah and Firmino and think: ‘they’re not getting moved’. But now it’s any three from five or six, isn’t it?

“They’ve managed to improve while they were at the top, which is not easy to do. It’s not as easy as you’d think to convince players to come and join a team that has been so settled. Players want to play, and for a long time we knew what Liverpool’s forward line was going to be. 

“I always look at Tottenham with Harry Kane, and people saying ‘how do they sign a back-up for the best striker around?’. Well, you have to back yourself, that you can perform and get yourself into the team. 

“A lot of clubs were chasing Diaz - I know Everton, Spurs, Leeds were all looking - but it couldn’t have turned out better for him, I don’t think. He’s got the best move and Liverpool have got a great player. 

“Credit to him for coming and backing himself. A lot of players might have wondered if they’d play, but Diaz, just like Jota, has backed himself and look at the impact those two have had.”

Diogo Jota Luis Diaz Liverpool 2022

‘I think Salah will stay’

Downing also addressed the situation facing Liverpool with Salah, with no sign at this stage of a new contract being agreed with the Egyptian superstar.

“It takes time,” he said. “I know it feels like a big thing because he is out of contract next year, but think of the contract Salah is going to be looking for. He’s 29, turning 30, it’s probably his last big one, his last big commitment, so it’s bound to take time.

“For me, I just think ‘where does he go from here?’ He will have offers, but he’s not going to be joining a team as good as Liverpool. He wants to win things, he wants to play for a big club, a great manager, and get a nice, healthy contract, and for me Liverpool tick all those boxes. 

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“I think it would be very strange to see Salah leave this summer. If he wants to win things, big things, the best chance he’s got is here. Wherever he goes, he’ll get good money, but there’s more to it. Liverpool offer a player so much in terms of history, fanbase, and the quality of their team. 

“And the Premier League is the best league in the world, so why would he want to leave? I think he’ll sign.”

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