Colombian police continue search for Liverpool FC player Luis Diaz’s kidnapped father

Police in Colombia are searching a mountain range in the north of the country for the kidnapped father of Liverpool striker Luis Diaz.

It is believed his parents were taken by armed men after being approached by a gang on motorbikes in the municipality of Barrancas.

Diaz’s mother has since been rescued it has been confirmed, but Colombian authorities have stepped up the search for his father, with the player having returned home to be with family members.

Police have been carrying out aerial patrols across the Perija mountain range, which straddles the border with Venezuela and is covered by a forest.

In a post on social media, Colombian Police Director General William Salamanca was shown visiting the operation in order to “recognise our commandos for their bravery and commitment to rescue him safe and sound”.

Police have offered a reward worth around £39,000 for information leading to the rescue of Luis Manuel Diaz.

Salamanca also urged caution in relation to reports that Luis Manuel might already have been taken into Venezuela, pointing to the difficulty of crossing the Perija mountains.

Both FIFA and the Colombia Football Federation have offered support to Diaz, 26, while Liverpool allowed the player to return home.

Speaking after Sunday’s 3-0 home win over Nottingham Forest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said preparation for the game had been “the most difficult I’ve ever had in my life”.

Klopp added: “I didn’t expect that, I wasn’t prepared for it. I don’t want to make the game bigger than it was, but definitely, we tried to help Luis with the fight we put in because obviously we want to help and we cannot really help.

“So the only thing we can do is fight for him and that’s what the boys did.”

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders, speaking at a press conference ahead of the Carabao Cup fourth round tie at Bournemouth, said the whole club was supporting Diaz as he waits for news.

“We try to support him now as much as we can – lot of things out of our hands,” said Lijnders.

“I think and I feel that it’s only for Liverpool Football Club that the players know we’re doing the right thing. It’s not for me to say what we’re doing for Luis Diaz.

“As long as he knows that we’re doing all the right things and we pray. The whole club is behind him. He has that feeling then, for me, it’s right.

“The authorities are doing everything. Everything we hear is that they’re trying everything, that’s the most important thing that his family are OK.”

Liverpool signed Diaz from Porto in January 2022 in an initial £37.5million deal that included a potential extra £12.5million in add-ons.