Premier League • England

Big Liverpool signing surprises expert with ‘so many gaps in his game’ coming to light

Alexis Mac Allister Darwin Nunez Liverpool

Liverpool duo Alexis Mac Allister and Darwin Nunez have been praised

Darwin Nunez has ‘some unbelievable attributes’ but is also guilty of some ‘awful’ mistakes, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has declared.

Liverpool parted with one of the biggest transfer fees in their history to sign Nunez from Benfica last summer. His adaptation to English football was not necessarily instant, though. He scored just nine Premier League goals in his debut season.

His form has been more promising this term, with three goals in six games in the league, but he was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons on Thursday when he missed an open goal in a Europa League win over Union SG.

Assessing what went wrong in that moment, Owen told TNT Sports: “It’s either lack of confidence, or lack of ability or not concentrating but in theory in professional football most people should be able to finish that.

“Nothing he does surprises me really and I mean he does some great things and then some awful things, he’s got so many gaps in his game, and I think he’s got the raw material of being a top player but he needs a lot of coaching and maybe a bit more experience.

“When you spend the money they’ve spent I thought you’d get more of a rounded player, I’ve been surprised to see how many gaps he’s got in his game and I’m always reluctant to write him off because I think he’s got some unbelievable attributes.

“I think of someone like Didier Drogba, when he first came people laughed at him for the first year or two, his touch was everywhere and then all of a sudden he just turned.

“I just think this lad could be that type of player, with improvement he could be an unbelievable player but he’s got to brush up on the obvious, easy parts of his game.”

Nunez is 24 years old, so still has time to improve, but the kind of chance he missed on Thursday does not come down to coaching – rather his own striking instincts that could be sharpened up.

Liverpool bought him on the back of a 34-goal season with Benfica, which shows what he is capable of when things are flowing.

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