Luis Diaz puts on a brave face as he travels with the Liverpool squad to Toulouse ahead of their Europa Cup tie… as expectation that his kidnapped father will be released TODAY grows in Colombia
- Diaz featured over the weekend for the Reds and scored the equaliser v Luton
- Hopes are high that Diaz Snr will be rescued as humanitarian groups intervene
- Liverpool’s Luis Diaz is extraordinary – Listen here to It’s All Kicking Off
Luis Diaz has travelled to France with Liverpool’s squad ahead of the Reds’ Europa League tie against Toulouse as the process of rescuing his father Luis Manuel Diaz begins in Colombia.
Diaz Snr – also known as Mane – was kidnapped nearly 12 days ago along with his wife Cilenis Marulanda from their hometown of Barrancas, in La Guijarra by Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organisation ELN.
After agreeing to withdraw troops the area along the Colombian-Venezuelan border where the organisation are believed to be keeping Diaz Snr hostage on Monday, it was widely expected that the group would begin the process of his release.
But concerns mounted on Tuesday after there was no progress from the group despite the army’s withdrawal to Barrancas.
On Wednesday, however, it was reported that ELN had made contact with humanitarian groups to involve them in the handover of Diaz Snr, including representatives from the United Nations and the Catholic Church, and that Diaz Snr could be freed in several hours.
Luis Diaz is travelling to France with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool squad ahead of Thursday’s Europa League duty
The 26-year-old has been taking part in training sessions ahead of their meeting with Toulouse
Diaz travels to France amidst news that his father, Luis Manuel Diaz, could be close to being rescued from his ELN captors
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Diaz looked in positive spirits as he boarded Liverpool’s plane for the short journey to Toulouse, after taking part in training ahead of the fixture.
After his father was taken hostage on October 28, Diaz sat out ties against Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth on compassionate grounds, but he returned to the side after training with Jurgen Klopp’s squad at the end of last week.
Named to the bench against Luton Town on Sunday, Diaz was a late substitute who scored an emotional equaliser at Kenilworth Road to claim a vital point for the Reds.
Upon scoring his goal, the Colombia international lifted up his jersey to reveal an undershirt printed with ‘freedom for dad’ in Spanish on it – which the FA opted not to fine the 26-year-old for.
Diaz also posted a plea to his father’s captors to release Diaz Snr on social media, calling for ELN to end the ‘anguish’ his family is going through.
Diaz’s mother Marulanda was freed just hours after the kidnappers took the couple hostage, and has since been the emotive face of the search for her husband.
Marulanda took part in two demonstrations in Barrancas calling for Diaz Snr’s safe release last week attended by hundreds within the community.
Speaking after the final whistle on Sunday, Klopp praised Diaz and spoke about his embrace with the forward after the match, saying: It’s wonderful, it’s emotional and it’s fantastic but the real problem is not sorted because of that.
‘We want to give and he wanted to as well, Lucho (Diaz) the opportunity to be a little bit distracted from things. He cannot do anything. He is waiting all the time, the whole family is waiting all the time. He trained a few times with us and was then in a good mood and it’s good for him.
Jurgen Klopp lauded the mentality of his forward amidst the horrific family tragedy on Sunday
Liverpool currently sit top of Group E after a clean sweep of wins in their first three matches
Diaz’s mother Cilenis Marulanda (centre) was also kidnapped but released just hours later
ELN claim they made a mistake kidnapping the father of such a beloved national team hero
‘The signs from Colombia are rather positive, optimistic but not the one thing we want to hear didn’t happen yet.
‘How was he emotionally afterwards? After the game, there was no words necessary. We just gave each other a hug, that’s all. You know how he is. Ok, but desperately waiting for the right news.
‘I understand 100 per cent it’s a nice story. It is super positive and great for him but these things go by.
‘The real information we need is different information. It (scoring) is a really, really positive thing for him but all the other problems stay the same.’
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
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