Diaz saves Liverpool from Luton shock on return after parents' kidnap

AFP , Sunday 5 Nov 2023

Luis Diaz came off the bench to save Liverpool from a shock defeat at Luton in a 1-1 draw on Sunday on his first appearance since his parents were kidnapped in his native Colombia.

Liverpool s Luis Diaz celebrates after scoring his side s first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Luton Town and Liverpool, at Kenilworth Road, in Luton, England, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.Luis Diaz has returned to Liverpool s squad for its Premier League match against Luton with his father still missing after being kidnapped by a guerrilla group in Colombia. (Alastair Grant)


The winger was introduced moments after Tahith Chong had given Luton a stunning lead 10 minutes from time.

Diaz's soaring leap and header five minutes into stoppage time denied the Hatters their first ever home win in the Premier League.

His mother was rescued within hours of her capture on October 28, but the search goes on for his father Luis Manuel Diaz.

The 26-year-old revealed a t-shirt saying "freedom for Dad" after scoring and again at full-time.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said before the game that the pitch could serve as a "safe place" for Diaz to forget the stresses of the past week.

But his remarkable show of strength glossed over a poor performance and result for the Reds.

Liverpool spent more on each of their starting midfield trio this summer than Luton have in the transfer market since the advent of the Premier League in 1992.

Yet, Rob Edwards' men were seconds away from one of the biggest shocks in Premier League history.

Darwin Nunez struck the crossbar early on for the visitors.

But it was a spectacular miss with the score still level at 0-0 that will haunt the Uruguayan.

Mohamed Salah should also have scored with a free header from close range 20 minutes from time.

But when the Egyptian's effort fell to Nunez, he somehow blazed over with the goal gaping.

Instead it was Chong who opened the scoring in controversial fashion.

Liverpool were screaming for a penalty for handball against Ross Barkley at a corner as Luton broke upfield and Issa Kabore crossed for the former Manchester United winger to slot home.

Diaz was then summoned from the bench and in a fairytale ending grabbed the equaliser when he met Harvey Elliott's cross to the back post.

There is hope that Diaz's father will soon be released after the head of the ELN guerilla group that seized the couple acknowledged the organisation had made a "mistake".

Liverpool missed the chance to go second in the table but edge up to third, above Arsenal on goal difference.

A point takes Luton out of the relegation zone.

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