Klopp urged to avoid U-turn on divisive Darwin Nunez strategy, with Liverpool tipped to see huge benefits

Darwin Nunez, September 2022

Liverpool should keep bringing Darwin Nunez on from the bench instead of allowing him to start games, according to a former goalkeeper.

The Uruguayan has a big reputation to prove following his initial £64million arrival at Anfield from Benfica. Nunez impressed for the Portuguese giants but has only shown flashes of that talent at Liverpool.

The 23-year-old scored in his first two games against Manchester City and Fulham, respectively. After that, though, his most memorable moment has been a red card against Crystal Palace.

Nunez started against the Eagles and against Everton, where he drew a blank. Since then, though, he has dropped back to a substitutes role.

And after displays from the bench against Napoli and Ajax added to the mix of performances from Nunez, former Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld feels there is a pattern emerging.

The Dutchman said: “To be honest, he is a player, at the beginning of the season, when he came on for the last half an hour, he made a massive difference.

“I remember the game against Manchester City. In pre-season, he was a different player when he came on than when he started the game, for example. Crystal Palace also.”

Westerveld, who won a cup treble with Liverpool in 2001, insisted that Jurgen Klopp must continue to start Nunez from the bench, even if there is a clamour from some for him to start given his price tag and previous form.

Nunez must start from Liverpool bench

“If you have a player like that, I tell everyone before the game that ‘I hope he’s on the bench for the last 30 minutes’,” the ex-stopper added in conversation with Sky Sports.

“Sometimes you have a player, maybe because he’s new and he has to adapt still.

“I think, in those 30 minutes, especially at home, he can go full speed and you can see what a quality player he is.

“I know they are working on him tactically and physically as well. It’s not easy to play for Liverpool with everything around it and the physicality and the high press they play.”

Nunez has made the competition for places up top healthier for Liverpool.

While Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz have nailed down starting roles on either wing, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are both vying for a place through the middle alongside Nunez.

Jota started against Ajax on Tuesday following his return from injury. Before then, Firmino starred with three goals and three assists in two games.

However, former Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher warned recently that it “can’t be right” that Firmino is still starting up top for the Reds.

Big Liverpool signing needs time

There is of course the pressure on Nunez’s shoulders to deliver, not least because of his price tag.

He is also Liverpool’s new star striker and goals are the currency of top strikers.

Thirdly, Manchester City also signed a marksman this summer and Erling Haaland has scored 13 goals in eight games this season.

But, not every striker is the same and Nunez clearly needs more time to adapt.

The Uruguay international has had to quickly learn some harsh lessons about discipline and how to deal with tough Premier League defenders.

Those lessons will only make him stronger and there is every chance he starts to settle in as the season progresses.

Liverpool boss Klopp admitted that his players need time to adapt to their new signing. As such, Nunez improving is a two-way street and both factors will not happen instantaneously.

However, Nunez showed his top form last season and Klopp clearly has faith in his new striker delivering.