Klopp hopes Diaz follows ‘outstanding’ Salah

Diaz (left) scored Liverpool's third after Salah had put them 2-1 up against Norwich
Diaz (left) scored Liverpool’s third after Salah had put them 2-1 up against Norwich

Luis Diaz may be 149 goals behind Mohamed Salah in a Liverpool shirt, but boss Jurgen Klopp hopes a similarly emphatic career lies ahead for his latest signing.

His dinked finish – crafted by a sublime Jordan Henderson pass – followed strikes from Sadio Mane and Salah, who reached a 150-goal milestone in 236 games for the club.

“No-one could have predicted when he scored the first goal at Watford, he could score 149 more in a short space of time,” Klopp said as he lauded Salah afterwards.

“Hopefully Luis can use his first goal the same way.”

‘A perfect game for scoring the 150th’ – Klopp

Salah has won the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup since joining Liverpool in 2017. His relentless form has delivered countless individual honors and harnessed a reputation so strong he even has his own waxwork at Madame Tussauds.

Only the late Roger Hunt reached the 150-goal mark quicker in a Liverpool shirt – needing 226 goals to Salah’s 233 – and in acknowledging his achievement, the Egyptian said he was “happy” and “always proud” to find the net.

“Outstanding,” added Klopp on Salah, who is one of only 10 players to reach 150 goals for Liverpool.

“He had an incredible game today. I said at half time, ‘don’t force it’. The first touch was insane today. It was a perfect game for scoring the 150th.”

Diaz has much to do to follow in similar Liverpool folklore, but Klopp praised the 25-year-old for staying in the game at Anfield as Liverpool made changes to their system and faced up to being behind in a must-win league fixture.

“The first half was not easy for an offensive players as we played a new set-up,” Klopp said.

“Then you have to work through this period. That’s what he did. You could see, for everybody the first goal is an incredibly important goal. In the second half he was 100% in the game for counter-pressing moments, really good stuff with the ball and an outstanding goal, so I’m really happy for him.”

Diaz latched onto Henderson’s superb through-ball to finish and the Liverpool captain said the new signing has been “brilliant” since joining.

“His work-rate, and in training, you can see he has quality as well when one versus one,” Henderson added. “His shooting of him is really good and his finishing you can see today is top drawer.

“The run makes the goal. As soon as he makes the run it’s easy to play the pass. It’s a great touch and finish so I should be thanking him.”

Injuries and ‘game-changing’ options

Jordan Henderson provided the assist for Luis Diaz to score Liverpool's third goal
Jordan Henderson provided the assist for Luis Diaz to score Liverpool’s third goal

Liverpool reached 100 goals in 39 matches in all competitions this season – the first Premier League club to reach a century – and have dramatically improved on last season’s showing, when they managed 97 goals in 53 matches.

Their win over Norwich was an eighth in a row in all competitions and followed success at Inter Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

Klopp – who rested Trent Alexander-Arnold in Saturday’s win – confirmed a muscle injury will keep Roberto Firmino out for “a while”, while forward Diogo Jota could return for next week’s Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.

“We have to keep the boys fit and create a spirit like the boys did today in the game,” added the German.

“We had moments and then the game can look completely different. But these boys just don’t give up – and we could help from the bench, bringing really good players on and that was, like three days ago, the game changer.”

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