Former Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce is backing Liverpool winger Luis Diaz for this season’s player of the year.
The Colombian international burst onto the scene after moving to Anfield from Porto in January, and Pearce believes that he could push on during his first full campaign in English football:
“I think Diaz could be Player of the Year, I was so impressed with Diaz last season, how he hit the ground running, his goals, his effort. He’s almost unshakable on the ball, I really like him. Will Liverpool miss Mane, of course, but I think Diaz could be a slightly better player and a better goalscorer. I think he could be a special player this year. What a talent.”
It’s a big claim to say that Diaz is better than Sadio Mane and, while the 25-year-old is certainly an outstanding player, he still needs to show he can produce the same number of goals and assists as his former teammate.
One thing to note is that Pearce was West Ham’s first-team coach last season. The Hammers were also reportedly pursuing Diaz before he decided to join Liverpool instead, so he has probably scouted the Colombian and knows his game pretty well.
Whether Diaz can make just as big an impact as Mane, and eclipse Mo Salah in terms of his contributions for the Reds this season, we shall have to wait and see.