Luis Diaz has travelled to Toulouse ahead of Liverpool‘s clash with the French side, after the chief negotiator for the Colombian government on Wednesday claimed that the process of releasing his kidnapped father was ready to commence.
Diaz’s father, Luis Manuel, was taken by armed members of the left-wing guerrilla group ELN on October 28 and local reports on Wednesday suggested the family had asked the insurgents for proof of life as the search ticks towards a fortnight.
But despite those reports in Colombia, Jurgen Klopp insisted there was ‘no real news’ about the situation.
‘No real news, always positive signs somehow but not real news,’ said Klopp when asked about Diaz. ‘He decided last week that because he cannot go to Colombia – that will not be the case at the moment – and when he is with us training it is a safe place and around matches.
Colombian forward Luis Diaz boards the plane to Toulouse for Liverpool’s Europa League game
Diaz revealed a t-shirt with the words ‘Libertad Para Papa’ (‘Freedom for Papa’) under his jersey
Your browser does not support iframes.
‘He wants to be with us, he has travelled and is available.’ Diaz was selected in the Colombia national squad for the upcoming international break in which they host Brazil on Friday week. He has not returned to his homeland since the kidnapping due to security fears.
Meanwhile, Virgil Van Dijk will not play in the match due to illness, which Klopp and several other players are also struggling with. Midfielders Ryan Gravenberch, who suffered a knock on his knee, and Curtis Jones, a low-grade hamstring pull, also did not travel due to minor injuries.
Youngsters Ben Doak and Jarell Quansah are thus in line for more minutes and Klopp said of the defender: ‘If you would have asked me in pre-season whether Jarell would be that good I would have been surprised.
‘But since then I have seen him every day, I am not surprised any more. It’s great to have a boy from our own academy with that potential and quality. We will see where he ends up but it is extremely promising.
‘He is good on the ball, aggressive in the challenge and has everything you need with a lot of room for improvement and development and that’s the best news for Liverpool. There was talk about him going on loan and we said ‘no’, that was obviously a very good decision.’
Diaz’s father Luis Manuel (right) is still to be released by left-wing rebel group ELN – but the head of the guerrilla group is reported to have said they made a ‘mistake’ holding the father