Jürgen Klopp has said there is “a little bit of hope” that Luis Díaz’s father could be released by kidnappers in Colombia and the Liverpool forward may be involved in Sunday’s visit to Luton.
Díaz returned to training on Wednesday amid fears for his father’s safety after Luis Manuel Díaz was seized at gunpoint by members of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) last weekend. His mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was also kidnapped but later released. Luis Manuel Díaz remains a hostage, although a representative of ELN has claimed he will soon be released, according to reports in Colombia.
Colombian police identify two suspects in abduction of Luis Díaz’s fatherRead more
Klopp said the player was tired but in reasonable spirits and would be left to decide whether he wishes to feature against Luton having missed Liverpool’s past two matches owing to his family’s ordeal.
The manager said: “He was in training two days ago. Yesterday he had a session and he will be part of the team [training]. We must wait. If he feels right, he will be here and train with us. The session he had with us you can see when he is with the boys he is fine, he is OK, but you could see he didn’t sleep a lot. We have to see how he is and we go from there.
“The news from Colombia gives us a little bit of hope. We are waiting for the really good news but that’s it pretty much. I cannot say what we will do because we just wait where we can pick up the boy from and go from there. But it’s all about him, if he makes himself available or not, and I will not force anything.”
Darwin Núñez will be looking to maintain his excellent form for the trip to Kenilworth Road. The Uruguay international has scored in five of his past six outings for club and country and Klopp believes the potential of the striker is frightening now that he has settled at Liverpool.
“The first year was hard for him and hard for me as well because you see this incredible talent, massive potential, but it’s difficult to unfold it,” Klopp said. “I’m obviously a manager who can help a player but I need contact for that. In an ideal world, you can speed up the process by talking a lot with the player. I was not able to do that because I don’t speak Spanish, but his English is now much better and my Spanish still isn’t.
“He’s settled in the team, when you see him around the building here, everything is different. He’s in a very good moment and it’s still only the start for him. He’s in a good moment and long may it continue, hopefully it will continue like that. I’m a bit afraid of the highs he could reach because there is so much there, it’s crazy.”
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Núñez scored 15 goals in his debut season at Liverpool, despite the difficulties, and Klopp believes the 24-year-old has all the attributes required of a leading striker: “The speed, the finishing skills, the desire he has, and when he’s fit he is really fit so he can go and go again. You just don’t know where he will end up.
“He came in for really big money. It shows again that players need time. We forget that. It’s the same with [Wataru] Endo. He is a different character to the other boys and you can see the steps he is making. He has another five years of top football in his legs. It’s the same story.”