Fabinho backs Liverpool teammate Darwin Nunez to come good
Fabinho has come out and defended Liverpool teammate Darwin Nunez as the Uruguayan continues to face criticism for mediocre performances during the pre-season. Against Manchester United and Crystal Palace in Thailand, the 23-year-old failed to find the back of the net.
Nunez has been wasteful in the two games and has looked a bit off his usual game. Of course, it’s to be expected during pre-season. But the striker has miscued shots and has not really been involved heavily in the games either.
Fabinho, speaking to The Athletic (Subscription Required) [h/t Metro], wants people to have patience and let the striker get settled. People need to bide their time and let the Uruguayan create an understanding with his teammates.
“Darwin may need a bit of time to adapt, let’s see, but a player like him can really change a team.”
Nunez is cominge off a great season for Benfica, scoring 34 goals in all competitions. The Uruguayan has made a name for himself over the years and his performances last season prompted the Reds to go all in.
The pre-season is time for the 23-year-old to get rid of the rust and get back his match fitness. For a new signing, these tours are also essential to build a connection on and off the pitch with players and fans.
Fabinho is well aware of Nunez’s qualities. The 23-year-old was brilliant against Liverpool last season. In the two Champions League quarter-final legs, the Uruguayan scored two goals.
“He’s a proper number nine. He’s a goal-scorer. He scored in both games against us in the Champions League. We know how good he is.”
Since Luis Suarez at the club, the Reds haven’t really had a great out-and-out striker who has proven himself to be prolific. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino have played through the middle, but none of them is a specialist number nine.
Nunez is capable of playing out wide and behind the strikers. His pace allows him to be effective in those positions. But it is the position through the middle up front that the Uruguayan shined in for Benfica.
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These pre-season games aren’t a barometer to give a verdict on players. Against Fulham on 6 August is when Nunez should be looked at more closely. And even if the striker cannot light up English football next season, it’s not the end of the world.