Luis Diaz is doing something only Fernando Torres and Mohamed Salah could at Liverpool

When a team wins a match 9-0, the outcome inevitably produces trivia galore. Did you know that Roberto Firmino became the first Liverpool player to get a hattrick of assists in the first half of any match in the Premier League era? Or that the Reds had five different scorers in the opening 45 minutes of a game for the first time since their very first competitive match in 1892?

Optajoe’s Michael Reid did, and we have him to thank for these interesting nuggets. In their pre-match trivia pack ahead of Liverpool’s match against Newcastle, his company provided a surprising piece of information which came about thanks to the big win against Bournemouth.

The first part does not seem that unusual. “Since his first Premier League appearance at Anfield in February, no Liverpool player has more home Premier League goals than Luis Díaz (6 in 10 games).” You might have guessed that Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah would lead the team in this regard, and they too have six league goals at Anfield in this period.

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The second piece of context for Diaz’ record on home turf might surprise you though. “In Premier League history, only Fernando Torres (9) has scored more Premier League goals in his first 10 home appearances for the Reds” (via StatsZone). Now there’s a fact which does catch the eye. It feels as though the Colombian has barely registered on the goal scoring front, yet at Anfield he can hold his head high among almost all of Liverpool’s amazing forwards from the last 30 years.

Again, the word ‘more’ is particularly pertinent. Salah scored six goals in his first 10 home league matches for the Reds, while Mane bagged five. Diogo Jota struck four times, though four of his first six Anfield appearances occurred from the bench. Diaz might be joint-second behind Torres, but he hasn’t been streets ahead of the competition by any means.

Nonetheless, the Colombian has been surprisingly potent early in his time on Merseyside. What is most encouraging is the variety seen in his home goals for Liverpool.

Diaz’ first strike at Anfield saw him run onto a perfectly weighted pass through the Norwich backline from Jordan Henderson, which allowed him to dink the ball past Angus Gunn and into the Kop end net. After drawing a blank against Leeds and West Ham, the number 23 then opened the scoring against Manchester United from the edge of the six yard box.

It was the highest xG value chance of his Premier League career to date (per Understat) and was put away with aplomb. Where the first Anfield goal was generated from a delivery into the box, this came from a Salah pass across it.

Diaz’ next two league goals on home turf were the most similar from his six. He struck from 23 and 21 yards against Tottenham and Crystal Palace respectively, in both cases turning a deficit into a 1-1 draw. That leaves his Bournemouth brace, which topped and tailed the goal scoring on a remarkable afternoon. Though these strikes were not wildly different, in that both were headers, the first was in open play while the second was converted directly from a corner.

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Scoring in this fashion on a consistent basis is a new development for Diaz. Per Transfermarkt, he netted five of his 61 goals for Junior FC and Porto with his head, where four of his nine for Liverpool have been scored this way. The other two in Red opened the scoring at Brighton and equalised in a Champions League semi-final, so as with most of the other goals mentioned above they were important in securing results.

And yet with a record of nine goals in his first 31 appearances, it doesn’t feel like Diaz has really got started and that his best is hopefully still to come. Sometimes a minor piece of trivia puts performance into far sharper context than you might expect.

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