Jürgen Klopp stated that the victory over Nottingham Forest was the most challenging match he had ever prepared for, as Luis Díaz’s parents were abducted in Colombia the day before the game.
Upon learning of the kidnapping on Saturday night, Díaz departed from the team’s hotel and is currently receiving assistance from Liverpool personnel in England. Meanwhile, Colombian authorities are actively searching for his father, Luis, who shares the same name as the player. Díaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, has already been rescued. According to Colombian police, a reward of up to 200 million pesos (equivalent to £40,000) is being offered for any information that could lead to the release of Díaz’s father.
Unfortunately, Díaz was not present as Liverpool secured a 3-0 victory at Anfield. Diogo Jota filled in for him and even paid tribute to Díaz by wearing his No 7 jersey after scoring the first goal. According to Klopp, the team’s main goal was to win in order to support their missing teammate. However, the struggles of the Díaz family were on the coach’s mind throughout the match.
“The manager expressed that the preparation for this was the most challenging I have experienced in my life,” he stated. “I was caught off guard and was not adequately prepared. I don’t want to exaggerate the significance of the game, but it was certainly a situation where we wanted to support Lucho in any way we could. Unfortunately, our ability to assist was limited, so our only option was to fight on his behalf, which is exactly what the team did.”
Last night, we were informed about the situation. We then spoke with Lucho, who expressed a desire to return home. We arranged for others to accompany him and ensure his well-being. His family is also present at Díaz’s home, and it is understandable that they want to be together. We received the great news about his mother, which is truly wonderful. Since then, there have been no major updates. Efforts are being made, but the distance makes it challenging. We are not the first to be informed, but we strive to stay informed as much as possible without causing any disruptions. Our role is simply to offer support.
Klopp said he was unaware of the Liverpool players’ plans to celebrate with a Díaz shirt and found the tribute incredibly touching. “How can you make a football game really important on a day like this?” he said. “It’s really difficult. I never struggled with that in my life. It was always my safe place, sometimes my hiding point as a player or as a coach. You are allowed, during these 90-odd minutes, to focus just on that. And it was impossible, absolutely impossible, to do that today.
We knew we had to add an extra element to the game and dedicate it to Lucho. When the players revealed the shirt, I wasn’t fully prepared for it. It was a very emotional and heartwarming moment.