Klopp consoles Diaz after Liverpool ace scores equaliser at Luton
Jurgen Klopp comforts Luis Diaz after Liverpool forward scores equaliser at Luton following kidnapping of his dad… and he celebrates by unveiling ‘freedom for Papa’ shirt
- Luton 1-1 Liverpool: Luis Diaz earns point for Reds in injury-time to deny Hatters
- Liverpool star dedicated the goal to his father who was kidnapped in Colombia
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Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Luis Diaz after he came off the bench to score an ‘emotional’ equaliser for Liverpool at Luton.
In his first appearance since the kidnap of his parents back in his homeland Colombia last weekend Diaz netted in the 95th minute to earn Liverpool a point.
Diaz’s mother Cilenis Marulanda was freed on the same night his parents were snatched off the street though his father Luis Manuel Diaz has yet to be released – the ‘real problem,’ Klopp reminded, that is not yet resolved despite ‘positive, optimistic’ signs.
Diaz revealed a t-shirt bearing the message ‘freedom for papa’ after scoring while he was embraced by Luton captain Tom Lockyer and Klopp at full time.
Klopp said: ‘It’s wonderful, its emotional and its fantastic but the real problem is not sorted because of that.
Liverpool forward Luis Diaz came off the bench to head a last-gasp equaliser at Luton Town
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‘We want to give and he wanted to as well, Lucho the opportunity to be a little bit distracted from things.
‘He cannot do anything. He is waiting all the time, the whole family is waiting all the time. He trained a few times with us and was then in a good mood and it’s good for him.
‘The signs from Colombia are rather positive, optimistic but not the one thing we want to hear didn’t happen yet.
How was he emotionally afterwards? After the game, there was no words necessary. We just gave each other a hug, that’s all. You know how he is. Ok, but desperately waiting for the right news.
‘I understand 100 per cent it’s a nice story. It is super positive and great for him but these things go by.
Second-half substitute Diaz headed home a Harvey Elliott cross in time added on on Sunday
‘The real information we need is different information. It [scoring] is a really, really positive thing for him but all the other problems stay the same.’
On the back foot for most of the game, Luton took a shock lead when Ross Barkley drove forward in the 80th minute to release Issa Kabore who passed for Tahith Chong to slide the ball past Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
That triggered delirium in the quaint and raucous Kenilworth Road stadium, whose capacity is just over 11,000 and where Luton had managed to register only one previous point this season.
But then up stepped second-half substitute Diaz to leap and convert a Harvey Elliott cross in time added on, revealing an undershirt that read ‘freedom For papa’. A Colombian guerrilla movement has said they will release his father.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker said: ‘It says a lot about Diaz’s character, his inner strength. Not many people imagine what he’s going through, we feel his pain but for him it’s a different level.
‘Football sometimes in the bad moment can bring joy to someone who is struggling. Football is a slice of joy for Lucho in this time. We are with him 100 per cent.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp embraces Diaz before he came on as a substitute on Sunday
‘Football always surprises in a good way, it happened with me when I was going through a difficult moment. When you are on the pitch you are focused on doing the job.’
‘Really difficult, we had to play against a deep defending team. They did a really good job today. We didn’t play a bad game, we missed some chances. It’s disappointing to not win but we respected the opponent playing bravely on the pitch.’
Liverpool were left ruing Darwin Nunez’s misses. He saw a powerful shot strike the bar in the first half and another sting the gloves of Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski in the second period.
The result left Liverpool third on 24 points, three behind leaders Manchester City. Luton inched out of the relegation area to go 17th on six points, two off the bottom.
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