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World News

Christian Klopp says Luiz Diaz will decide when to return as team pray for his father's return

by Will Hobbs

The father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz, who was kidnapped in Colombia, will be freed "as soon as possible", according to a representative of the rebel group holding him.

Liverpool FC have been "praying for a good situation" as the search continues in Colombia, according to their coach Pepijn Lijnders.

Earlier on Thursday, the Colombian government said the pair were kidnapped by the guerrilla group, National Liberation Army, also known as the ELN.

Colombian authorities have been searching all week, after armed men abducted him and his wife. Diaz's mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was found in Barrancas on Saturday within hours of her kidnapping.

"We have to try to support him as much as we can, a lot of things are out of our hands," said Lijnders, who's part of a dressing room that features committed Christian players Cody Gakpo and Alisson Becker. 

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp is also professing Christian. He's said it is up to Diaz when he returns to the side, after the winger missed Liverpool's last two fixtures. 

"We hope the authorities can find his dad, we pray for that. As long as we do the right thing for him, he is one of us," Lijnders said.

"He is an incredible player, everyone can see that. Then you see him in the building, he is the guy who always smiles. We really care about him.

"The team responded brilliantly by putting the shirt up, and the way the stadium reacted was a special moment.

Our motto is You'll Never Walk Alone. So we just pray for a good situation."

On Tuesday, Colombia international and Liverpool star Diaz urged people to join a march demanding the safe release of his father.

His Instagram post invited the ‘whole community’ to ‘bring your candle to light the light of hope’, with the picture of his father accompanied by a caption which read: ‘Free him now’.

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