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'Luis Diaz has built a football lexicon in Liverpool' - Tim Vickery

Tim Vickery marvels at Luis Diaz and explains how he's the inverse of Gareth Bale.



Tim Vickery, a journalist based on South America, joined Johnny Ward on The Football Show.

This year's Champions League final has a heavy South American influence. Liverpool will rely on Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz in different capacities. Real Madrid will look to Marcelo, Casemiro, Federico Valverde, Eder Militao, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo in different capacities.

As such, there is greater interest in this game in South America than is typical.

Tim Vickery explained that the change in time and day of the game made the Champions League more appealing in different continents. Fans in Brazil and Argentina can now watch the game instead of checking the score during work. One of the South American stars is likely to be the hero, or the villain, because of how prominent they feature for each team.

Of the stars, the most surprising one is Luis Diaz.

Diaz is a surprise because he is the most recent arrival. He wasn't with Liverpool when the season previews were written. He wasn't with Liverpool when they qualified out of their group stage. Diaz joined in January as a backup player for a team that famously takes time to incorporate new signings.

And yet, he's immediately climbed into a position of stardom for Liverpool. He wrenched the starting spot away from Diogo Jota, who had just wrestled it away from Firmino.

"It's astonishing," Vickery said.

"I always saw him as a Liverpool player. And I thought that Liverpool would be after him in January because you could just see how he would fit into that side. As a backup for Mane. On the left wing, cutting in. But I had no idea he was going to make this immediate impact."

Gareth Bale is a name that haunts Liverpool since their last Champions League final against Real Madrid. Bale may feature this weekend. Vickery explained that Diaz is currently the inverse of Bale. He is a star for Liverpool who has found great chemistry and success with his new teammates.

But unlike how Bale stars for his national team, Diaz is struggling in Columbia.

It makes his performances for Liverpool and his position entering the Champions League final all the more peculiar.

"Arriving and not speaking a word of English, but instantly finding a football lexicon with his new teammates. Now I've been watching him for Columbia, who astonishingly missed out on World Cup qualification. They went seven games without a goal. He played in all of those games.

"So with his [Columbian] compatriots he wasn't able to find this footballing language, but with Liverpool it just clicked right from the start. So often, you have to credit Klopp for the excellence of his work.

"It happened with Diogo Jota as well. If this is happening time and time again, it's not coincidence."

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Read more about

Champions League Champions League Final Columbia Gareth Bale Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Luis Diaz Real Madrid

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