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Luis Diaz ends a traumatic week with Liverpool’s late equaliser at Luton

Luis Diaz ended a traumatic week by coming off the bench to save Liverpool from a shock defeat at Luton with a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Substitute Tahith Chong looked to have secured a sensational Hatters win when he finished off a superb break to slot past Alisson 10 minutes from time.

On their first league visit in more than 30 years, Liverpool appeared rocked by a raucous atmosphere inside Kenilworth Road and were never at their free-flowing best against a side that dug in, ground out and waited for their chance.

And Chong’s goal looked to have been decisive until Diaz, who came off the bench seven minutes from the end for his first appearance since his father was kidnapped in Colombia, got his head on Harvey Elliott’s cross five minutes into added time to deny Luton a famous win.

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Diaz lifted his shirt in celebration to reveal a message on a white T-shirt that read ‘libertad para papa’ or ‘freedom for my father’.

Liverpool sought the victory that would move them second in the table, but the first half was a test of their patience as Luton executed an organised, determined plan to stymy their attacking advances.

Darwin Nunez tested the reflexes of goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski early on, striking from outside the box and drawing a diving save from the Luton goalkeeper low to his left.

Nunez went closer still when his first-time effort struck the top of the crossbar from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superb pass from deep in midfield.

Mohamed Salah sliced an effort over after Luton failed to clear Dominik Szoboszlai’s free-kick, but on the whole the hosts contained Liverpool well during the opening 25 minutes.

Ryan Gravenberch looked to inject urgency into a ponderous attacking display with a bursting run through the centre, laying the ball off to Diogo Jota who had made a smart run, but after an intelligent dash into space his shot was too close to Kaminski.

From the resulting corner, Alexander-Arnold hit a first-time drive that was blocked inside a crowded penalty area, encapsulating Liverpool’s half.

At the other end, Alfie Doughty and Chiedozie Ogbene linked up well down the left and worked the ball into the middle where Ross Barkley had found space. Unmarked and with a free hit at goal, the former Everton midfielder thumped his 20-yard effort over the bar as Luton’s best opening of the half came and went.

The second half brought with it a growing sense that a single goal might decide things, and Edwards’ side were credible candidates.

Luton Town v Liverpool – Premier League – Kenilworth Road
Mohamed Salah reacts after a missed chance (Zac Goodwin/PA)

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

It looked for a moment like his contact would be sufficient to beat Alisson, but Liverpool’s goalkeeper had narrowed the angle between Morris and the goal, and the ball spun to safety.

Salah and Nunez conspired between them to miss the game’s best chance so far with 20 minutes to go.

The Egyptian was left unmarked six yards out and nodded towards his team-mate despite Kaminski being exposed. Nunez had time and space but not the composure required to crack the game open, and he ballooned horribly over.

Yet Liverpool’s threat was undoubtedly growing. Nunez made a better job of his next chance, hammering towards the near post from Salah’s pass but again Kaminski was his equal to fist it over the top.

Luton Town v Liverpool – Premier League – Kenilworth Road
Tahith Chong (hidden) celebrates Luton’s goal with a raucous crowd (Zac Goodwin/PA)

With 10 minutes to go the moment for which home fans had patiently waited arrived, and it began with Liverpool on the attack.

It was Barkley that collected the ball as a corner routine for the visitors broke down, carrying it up over the halfway line with Liverpool committed and pushing it wide on the right into the path of Issa Kabore.

His low cross into the box landed perfectly for Chong who did not even break stride as he guided the ball with consummate cool past Alisson to send a shockwave of noise around Kenilworth Road.

It was all Liverpool after that and they snatched an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Elliott’s ball into the box was delivered well, and as Luton lost concentration there was Diaz to nod home and rescue his side.