Soccer-Liverpool fought for Diaz, Klopp says, after Colombian’s father kidnapped

(Reuters) – Liverpool were “fighting for Luis Diaz” in their 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League at home on Sunday, manager Juergen Klopp said, as authorities in Colombia search for Diaz’s kidnapped father.

Kidnappers tried to seize both of Diaz’s parents near their home in Colombia on Saturday but his mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued, Colombian President Gustavo Petro said. Authorities are trying to rescue Diaz’s father.

The forward was absent from Liverpool’s team against Nottingham Forest in light of the incident.

Klopp told reporters that the Colombian international wanted to go home but he did not say if he would.

“I don’t want to make the game bigger than it was but it was definitely, we tried to help Lucho with the fight we put in,” Klopp said, referring to Diaz by his nickname.

“Obviously, we want to help but we cannot really help so the only thing we can do is fight for him and that’s what the boys did.”

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota held up Diaz’s number seven shirt to show support for him after scoring the first goal of the match as the 2019-20 champions stayed fourth in the table with 23 points from 10 games.

The Colombia Football Federation has appealed to the kidnappers to release the father of the 43-time international.

“We ask the captors of Luis Manuel Diaz, father of Luis Fernando Diaz, to release him now, without conditions,” the Colombian FA posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Football is peace. Lucho, we are with you. Colombia is with you.”

The Colombian police have announced a reward of 200 million Colombian pesos ($48,300) for information leading to the rescue of Diaz’s father.

(Reporting by Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru; editing by Robert Birsel)