Luis Diaz’s Liverpool masterclass shows up Man City for their transfer failing

Six months ago the prospect of Liverpool starting a Champions League semi-final without either Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota in the team would have been unthinkable – but six months ago Liverpool didn't have Luis Diaz.

It has taken less time than this for the Colombian to make such an impact at Anfield that Jurgen Klopp had no hesitation in picking him against Villarreal on Wednesday night (April 27).

Firmino being injured made the German's decision simpler, but even if the Brazilian had been fit he wouldn't have got a look in. He'd have been on the bench alongside Jota with their new team-mate favoured.

It takes a certain kind of star to be able to arrive at a place like Anfield in the middle of a season in which his new team is threatening to rewrite history and look like he's part of the furniture.

It takes a special kind of player to be able to embrace the challenge and expectation that comes with representing a club of such pedigree and tradition.

Diaz's work ethic, attitude and passion have endeared him to the Kop. He's become one of their own already.

Throw into the mix his dazzling feet, pace, vision and willingness to beat an opponent and the relationship between Diaz, Liverpool and supporters feels destined to be a marriage made in heaven.

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This might have been Diaz's first semi final at club level, but it looked like his umpteenth.

He was the first to threaten on 13 minutes, cutting inside Juan Foyth before testing Geronimo Rulli with a vicious, dipping strike.

Moments later he was skinning Foyth again, leaving the hapless full back no choice but to bring him down. Diaz must have been too quick for referee Szymon Marciniak as well, because he failed to see the foul.

It felt like going from the sublime to the ridiculous in the wake of the classic at the Etihad 24 hours earlier.

But Diaz was doing his best to liven things up and stung the palms of Rulli again before half time.

Should Liverpool go on to face Manchester City in the final next month, there will be more sub-plots than an episode of Coronation Street and Emmerdale rolled onto one.

And one of them will be the inquest into how someone costing less than £40m has managed to do more in half a season than someone like Jack Grealish, who cost £100m, has managed in a full one.

Grealish didn't have a kick in one of the games of the decade between City and Real Madrid, while in stark contrast, Diaz is starting to look undroppable.

Which just goes to show, it's not how much money you might have, it's all about how you spend it.

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