Jurgen Klopp counting on Darwin Nunez after impressive preseason form
The Uruguayan forward had a mixed first campaign on Merseyside but the Liverpool boss is confident that Nunez will live up to the hype this season.
After Darwin Nunez scored his fourth goal in three preseason fixtures, Jurgen Klopp believes that the 24-year-old is set for a big season with Liverpool.
The Uruguayan, a €75 million signing from Benfica last summer, had a mixed first season in the Premier League. His direct running and constant energy endeared himself to the Anfield faithful but a return of just nine league goals was underwhelming.
However Klopp has been eager to emphasise that new signings often require some time to adapt to a career with Liverpool. Speaking after Nunez opened the scoring in a 4-0 friendly victory over Leicester City, Klopp sounded optimistic about the forward’s prospects for the 2023/24 season.
“I think the signs Darwin showed already last season were really good. Injuries and the red card were not helpful, but it’s all good,” Klopp said. “Sometimes you need more time, that’s how it is.”
“For Darwin it’s the same like for all the other strikers as well because I know about the quality they have and they need to do both... defend and be influential in all the offensive situations.”
Klopp backs Nunez to get goals
When club legend Roberto Firmino left Liverpool at the end of last season the famous Number 9 shirt became available. Nunez was given the iconic shirt in a real show of faith from Klopp.
. After the departures of Firmino and Sadio Mane in recent years Klopp will hope to settle on a new first-choice front three going forward. With Nunez looking confident in preseason Klopp hinted that he could play a key role for the team in 2023/24.
“You can see he is a handful, the speed and the goal was a typical goalscorer’s goal... Being there, smelling it and finishing it off. In training he looks really good.”
Nunez will be battling for a place in Klopp’s starting XI alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gapko. Liverpool are well-stocked for attacking options but Klopp demands more from his forwards than mere goals.
“They all are a threat, they all are good footballers, [but] the ticket into the team will be the readiness to defend,” Klopp explained. “You never hear about a team being really successful with sloppy defending.”
Liverpool’s Premier League campaign begins with a clash against Chelsea on Sunday, 13 August.