Luis Diaz reveals message for kidnapped father as he saves Liverpool from defeat

Diaz came on as a substitute with seven minutes remaining, making his first appearance since his father was kidnapped in Colombia

Substitute Tahith Chong looked to have secured a sensational Hatters win when he completed a superb counter-attack ten minutes from time, slotting past Alisson.

In their first league game in more than 30 years, Liverpool appeared rattled by a noisy atmosphere at Kenilworth Road and were never at their best against a team that dug in, asserted themselves and waited for their chance.

And Chong’s goal appeared to have been decisive until Diaz, who came on as a substitute with seven minutes left in his first appearance since his father’s kidnapping in Colombia, headed home Harvey Elliott’s cross to give Luton one in the fifth minute of stoppage time Famous goals denied winning.

Diaz solemnly lifted his shirt and revealed a message on a white T-shirt that read “libertad para papa,” or “Freedom for my father.”

Liverpool were aiming for the win that would take them second in the table, but the first half was a test of patience for them as Luton implemented an organized and determined plan to hamper their attacking advances.

Darwin Nunez tested goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski’s reflexes early on, striking from outside the penalty area and making a diving save to deny the Luton goalkeeper deep to his left.

Nunez came even closer when his first-time shot hit the top of the crossbar after a great pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold from the middle of midfield.

Mohamed Salah fired a shot over goal after Luton failed to clear Dominik Szoboszlai’s free-kick, but overall the hosts kept Liverpool well in check in the first 25 minutes.

Ryan Gravenberch tried to add urgency to a ponderous attacking game with a rapid run through the middle and laid the ball off to Diogo Jota, who had made a clever run, but after a smart shot into space his shot was too close past Kaminski.

From the resulting corner, Alexander-Arnold struck a shot for the first time, but it was blocked in a crowded penalty area, encapsulating Liverpool’s half.

At the other end, Alfie Doughty and Chiedozie Ogbene linked up well down the left and played the ball into the middle where Ross Barkley had found space. Unmarked and with a free-kick on target, the former Everton midfielder smashed his 20-yard shot over the bar for Luton’s best opening of the half.

In the second half there was a growing feeling that a single goal could decide everything and Edwards’ side were a credible contender.

Mohamed Salah reacts after a missed chance (Zac Goodwin/PA)

In the 63rd minute, Ogbene, who was a thorn in Liverpool’s right side throughout, raced away from Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate and hit the ball back for Carlton Morris.

For a moment it looked as if his touch would be enough to beat Alisson, but Liverpool’s goalkeeper had reduced the angle between Morris and the goal and the ball spun to safety.

Salah and Nunez conspired and missed the best chance of the game so far with 20 minutes left.

The Egyptian remained unmarked six meters from goal and nodded to his teammate, even though Kaminski was exposed. Nunez had time and space but not the composure needed to open the game and he shot horribly into the air.

But Liverpool’s threat was undoubtedly growing. Nunez made better use of his next chance and hammered Salah’s pass towards the near post, but once again Kaminski was equal to him and punched the ball over the crossbar.

Tahith Chong (hidden) celebrates Luton’s goal with a raucous crowd (Zac Goodwin/PA)

With ten minutes to go, the moment the home fans had been patiently waiting for arrived and it began with Liverpool’s attack.

It was Barkley who collected the ball when the visitors’ corner routine failed, carrying it over the halfway line with Liverpool’s commitment and pushing it wide into the path of Issa Kabore on the right.

His low cross into the box landed perfectly at Chong, who didn’t even slow down as he guided the ball past Alisson with absolute cool, sending a shockwave of noise through Kenilworth Road.

After that it was all about Liverpool and they equalized in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Elliott’s ball into the box was played well and when Luton lost concentration, Diaz was there to nod home and save his team.

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