Darwin Nunez has made a joke about his relationship with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, though it could actually be a truly worrying sign for Reds supporters.
Liverpool broke their transfer record in the summer to sign Nunez from Portuguese outfit Benfica. They paid an initial £64million for him, though the deal is expected to rise to £85m through add-ons. This means it will eclipse the £75m deal that took Virgil van Dijk to Anfield.
Nunez arrived with big expectations after bagging 34 goals in all competitions for Benfica last season.
However, things haven’t worked out for the striker at Liverpool so far. He has only managed one Premier League goal and has missed a host of good chances, which has done Liverpool no favours.
Nunez has lost his starting spot to Roberto Firmino. Due to this, the Uruguayan only came on for a few minutes in the recent 3-3 draw with Brighton.
Klopp decided to change things up on Tuesday and play a 4-2-3-1 against Rangers in the Champions League. One of the reasons for this was to accommodate both centre-forwards Nunez and Diogo Jota, while Firmino began the match on the bench.
It was a successful night for Klopp’s men as they beat Rangers 2-0 thanks to a stunning free-kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold and a Mo Salah penalty. This took their Champions League group stage tally to six points from three outings.
However, it was not a successful night for Liverpool’s number 27, Nunez. He was sent through on goal multiple times by his team-mates but was thwarted by Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor at every turn.
The 23-year-old should have scored at least one. However, he only managed to smash the ball into McGregor, rather than pick out the corner of the net.
Darwin Nunez makes worrying admission
Concern among Liverpool fans is growing that Nunez might not be the player he was cracked up to be. And the attacker has now conducted an interview which suggests there is a problem with his manager.
Following the victory over Rangers, Nunez spoke to ESPN Vivo. He joked that he cannot work out what advice Klopp is trying to give him when he’s on the pitch.
“Truthfully, when he [Klopp] speaks I don’t understand anything,” Nunez said (via the Daily Mirror).
While Nunez meant this in a humorous way, it is also a worrying sign. There is a language barrier between Klopp and Nunez and this could impact the player’s development.
He is not finding out exactly what Klopp wants him to do or where he should position himself. Perhaps this is one factor to blame for Nunez’s slow start to the campaign.
Of course, the situation will get better as Nunez adapts to life in England and picks up more English along the way. Right now, though, it looks set to be a problem.
While the former Benfica man couldn’t get on the scoresheet against Rangers, Klopp has confidence the goals will come.
After the match, the German said: “You saw how good a striker he is to be constantly in those situations. Everybody saw tonight that this will happen. So all good.”
Meanwhile, a former Liverpool favourite is in line to take charge of Bayer Leverkusen after Thomas Tuchel opted not to take up the role.