Darwin Nunez offers Liverpool a ‘different dimension’ according to one former player, who has explained how Jurgen Klopp’s new striker will change the way the Reds operate.
Nunez had to settle for a spot on the bench in the 3-1 Community Shield win over Manchester City on Saturday. Klopp went with a front three of Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.
But Nunez, who is set to become Liverpool’s record signing, got his moment in the 59th minute. He came on for Firmino and soon began to cause City problems.
The Uruguay international almost scored five minutes into his debut, only to be thwarted by City goalkeeper Ederson.
In the 80th minute, Nunez got on the end of a Salah cross and headed at goal. His effort hit the arm of Ruben Dias and a penalty was therefore rewarded to Liverpool.
Salah dispatched of the spot-kick to restore the Liverpool lead. That wasn’t the end of it though, as Nunez got a goal for himself.
After good work from Salah and Andy Robertson, the former Benfica man drove a diving header past Ederson in stoppage time. This sent Reds supporters into a frenzy as ‘Nunez’ chants rang around the stadium.
Nunez got the better of City’s new arrivals Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland in the Community Shield. That is despite Haaland showing good movement and Alvarez stabbing home City’s goal.
Darwin Nunez ‘threatened’ Man City defenders – pundit
While appearing on the ITV Sport coverage of the game, former England women’s international Karen Carney was asked about how Nunez will change Liverpool.
She replied: “They have an out-and-out number nine now. We’re used to seeing wingers playing up there for Liverpool. But I thought he threatened the backline really well, City had to drop off.
“There’s space then for other players. He just offered a really good, different dimension.
“What I like, and the Liverpool fans will like, is his off-the-ball workrate. His opportunities came because he was hunting and pressing and that’s what the Liverpool fans want to see from their number nine.”
When analysing Nunez’s goal, Carney added: “Again, City giving it away in silly areas and you’re going to get punished. Runners left, right and centre from Liverpool. Nunez ghosts off the back shoulder.
“He comes in short, no one picks him up. He doesn’t just ignore it, he gets in there between the centre-backs and gets his goal.”
The match couldn’t have gone much better for Nunez. He will have been a bit disappointed with beginning the match on the bench, but his subsequent impact on the game more than made up for this.
Darwin Nunez a massive Liverpool signing - but big Salah, Mane difference clear
Liverpool have made another impressive signing in Darwin Nunez, but the deal differs to those gone before up front in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The 23-year-old will want to continue his fine start when Liverpool get their Premier League season underway against Fulham on Saturday August 6.
Some fans may now expect Nunez to hit 30 goals after such an impressive performance. While this is a possibility, Nunez must be given time to fully adapt to the English game.
He scored 34 times for Benfica last term, but the Prem is certainly a big step up from Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
During a post-match interview, Klopp also had some kind words to say about his new attacker.