Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp leaps to the defence of Darwin Nunez
The Uruguayan was the centre of attention during Liverpool’s match against Manchester United in the Bangkok Century Cup in Thailand. Nunez struggled in the sweltering heat and had an eventful cameo in the Reds’ 4-0 loss, which included an out-of-character close-range miss.
Nunez’s match preparation was hampered by foot blisters, and he appeared off his game during his brief cameo of 30 minutes. However, Klopp said that he wasn’t bothered by what he observed and that Nunez continued to pose a threat to the opposing team.
“It was his third session (since arriving for pre-season training) and I think after the third sprint his lungs were nearly ready to explode. We nearly killed him with these balls but he offered the runs and the boys wanted to pass the ball, that is for sure one of his strengths. He was dangerous, all these kinds of things.”
The German manager also added why Nunez would be a crucial weapon for Liverpool going into the next season.
“So Darwin, we will see. I think his profile is a proper number nine so that’s helpful with speed and aggression and using his body, all these kinds of things.”
Given that Klopp wants his team to play with fierce energy throughout every game, the fact that he was having fitness issues for a brief period of time on the field may cause some concern for Liverpool supporters.
However, there is still plenty of time for the 23-year-old to make improvements before the start of the season, and the Reds supporters will likely hold out hope that he was only clearing the cobwebs after his summer break.
Nunez scored 34 goals for Benfica last season, including two goals in the Champions League against Liverpool, but he didn’t look like himself against United in Bangkok.
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Over the years, Liverpool has added forwards who have excelled above and above what the fans had anticipated. When Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane first joined the team, few people would have imagined that they would perform as wonderfully as they have. Hence it is wise to keep patience with Nunez as well.