The Colombian joined the Reds in January after Jurgen Klopp hijacked his signing from Tottenham Hotspur and has proven to be the signing of the season in just under six months as a Red.
He has had to adapt his game to focus on his pace and power rather than his technicality and skill on the ball which he relied on a lot to beat players while he was at Portugal. However, the 25-year-old has done it expertly and inculcated his skill on the ball into his new style of play.
The Colombian has got the media in England raving and Manchester United interim manager Rangnick has bemoaned his bosses’ refusal to make a move for the player in the summer.
Man United were short of attackers aside Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford for a long stretch of the January transfer window. Anthony Martial had gone to Sevilla on loan, Mason Greenwood was arrested for domestic violence and suspended by the club, and Edinson Cavani was going in and out of the hospital on injury.
The German claims he told the board that the club needed another striker or forward and idenitifed Diaz, alongside Dusan Vlahovic and Julian Alvarez, but got a resounding ‘no’ as an answer.
“We lost three strikers, long-term,” said Rangnick. “We should have tried to sign a player in the 48 hours we had, since we knew Mason wouldn’t be available and Anthony had already left on loan.
“We were also aware Edinson might not be available for eight out of 10 games, but we didn’t do it. There were a few: Diaz, who is now at Liverpool; Alvarez, who will be at Manchester City in the summer; and Vlahovic, who at the time was still with Fiorentina.
“The answer was ‘no’ and that was it. I spoke to the board and told them ‘shouldn’t we at least speak and analyse and find if we can at least get a player, on loan or a permanent deal?’
“In the end the answer was ‘no’. Maybe they didn’t want to do any winter business. Maybe we should have at least discussed it internally, because it might be necessary and important. It would have been short notice anyway but still, 48 hours is 48 hours. It might have been at least worth a try. But we didn’t and it wasn’t done.”
It is understood that the club’s hierarchy chose to tow this route because of their apprehension at the possible rejection of the new striker by their incoming manager, who, at the time, was unknown.