Liverpool forward Luis Diaz came off the bench on Sunday to head a last-gasp equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Luton Town and dedicate the goal to his father who was kidnapped in Colombia.
On the back foot for most of the game, Luton took a shock lead when Ross Barkley drove forward in the 80th minute to release Issa Kabore who passed for Tahith Chong to slide the ball past Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
That triggered delirium in the quaint and raucous Kenilworth Road stadium, whose capacity is just over 11,000 and where Luton had managed to register only one previous point this season.
But then up stepped second-half substitute Diaz to leap and convert a Harvey Elliott cross in time added on, revealing an undershirt that read ‘Freedom For Papa’. A Colombian guerrilla movement has said they will release his father.
Afterwards Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: ‘It’s a wonderful moment, the most important thing is that his father gets released. For us super important goal and for him very important.
‘He always can do that, he’s always involved in special things. We didn’t know how long he could play but that’s not the important part today.’
Liverpool forward Luis Diaz came off the bench to head a last-gasp equaliser at Luton Town
Second-half substitute Diaz headed home a Harvey Elliott cross in time added on on Sunday
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp embraces Diaz before he came on as a substitute on Sunday
Reds goalkeeper Alisson said: ‘It says a lot about Diaz’s character, his inner strength. Not many people imagine what he’s going through, we feel his pain but for him it’s a different level.
‘Football sometimes in the bad moment can bring joy to someone who is struggling. Football is a slice of joy for Lucho in this time. We are with him 100 per cent.
‘Football always surprises in a good way, it happened with me when I was going through a difficult moment. When you are on the pitch you are focused on doing the job.’
‘Really difficult, we had to play against a deep defending team. They did a really good job today. We didn’t play a bad game, we missed some chances. It’s disappointing to not win but we respected the opponent playing bravely on the pitch.’
Liverpool were left ruing Darwin Nunez’s misses. He saw a powerful shot strike the bar in the first half and another sting the gloves of Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski in the second period.
The result left Liverpool third on 24 points, three behind leaders Manchester City. Luton inched out of the relegation area to go 17th on six points, two off the bottom.