Rio: Difference-maker Diaz offers Reds something unique
Rio Ferdinand hailed Luis Diaz as the "difference maker" after the January signing fired Liverpool into the Champions League final.
Sent on by Jurgen Klopp at half-time, Diaz was influential as the Reds fought back from 2-0 down at Villarreal to win 3-2 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate.
The Colombian winger, 25, scored the second goal and gave the Spaniard’s backline a torrid time in his 45 minutes on the pitch.
And Ferdinand hailed his impact at Anfield, where he believes Diaz gives Liverpool something their other four strikers do not.
The 2008 Champions League winner said: "Diaz was the difference maker. Yes, Villarreal stepped off the gas but Diaz coming one-v-one was the big difference.
"This guy came on and was mesmeric. They've got great strikers but he is something different.
"He wants to get you one-v-one and run at you at all times, that’s his first thought.
"The dribbling, the way he uneases and unnerves defenders, his trickery, his balance. I think he's a fabulous player."
Owen hails Diaz's instant impact
And ex-Reds striker Michael Owen admitted that he could not remember a player coming in from another league and having such an instant impact.
Liverpool spent £37.5million to secure Diaz's services from Porto and the South American has already shown his worth in his 21 appearances to date.
Owen, 42, said: "I've never seen a player come in and hit the ground running like he has.
"Playing in a foreign country, doesn’t speak the language, but to pick up the way Liverpool play like he has straight away is incredible.
"He's a starter now, no question about it. Out of possession, he's just Liverpool. If he gets fouled he doesn’t start rolling, he gets up and sprints and chases the ball back.
"You can't buy that, that initial reaction to losing the ball, he wants to go and get it back again."
Klopp's side will discover their opponents for this month's showpiece in Paris when Real Madrid host Manchester City in tonight's semi-final second leg.