After a tough night following his parents’ kidnapping in Colombia, Luis Diaz was left out of the Liverpool squad for Sunday’s Premier League home game against Nottingham Forest. Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp admitted that it was a difficult decision, but the club was aware of the situation and would be focusing on the player’s welfare.
The winger had been in the team that defeated Toulouse 5-1 on Thursday evening and was set to play in the match against the Reds’ local rivals after a rest day. Klopp was keen to keep the 24-year-old involved after the positive performance, but he had to make an early change.
The news broke late on Saturday that Luis Diaz’s mother and father had been kidnapped in his homeland. The Colombian player’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued, and authorities are now trying to find his father. Diaz has been left out of the Liverpool squad for Sunday’s game, and Klopp said everyone at the club was worried about him.
Klopp said: ‘It was a hard decision to make, but it was a private situation that we had to consider, and all the players were concerned for his family.’ ‘Everyone is in touch with the boy, and we’re all praying for him to return safely.’
He added: ‘We have to prepare for the game and see how it goes, but we will give everything for Luis. He’s a nice person, and we want to see him back on the field quickly.
Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro said late on Saturday that Diaz’s mother had been rescued after they were kidnapped in northern Colombia, but officials were still searching for his missing father. Police director William Rene Salamanca said he was using all available resources to find the couple, who were on their way home from a restaurant in Barrancas when gunmen stopped them on motorbikes.
It has been suggested that the father, whose identity is not known, may have been taken into Venezuela to avoid a ransom demand. A search operation is now underway in the mountainous north of the country, with planes and helicopters scanning the area. At the same time, army resources set up roadblocks to check vehicles as they pass through.
Meanwhile, the Colombian Football Federation has released a statement saying the incident is regrettable and called on authorities to rescue the family of Liverpool star Diaz. Diogo Jota dedicated his goal to the player in yesterday’s 3-0 win over Forest and held up a Liverpool shirt with the winger’s name on it as he celebrated. The gesture was applauded by his teammates and by fans inside Anfield stadium. Liverpool host Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Monday night. The Reds are fifth in the Premier League table with six points from five games. They have only failed to score a league goal once this season. They have won four of their five home matches in the league so far.