Liverpool have been told that Darwin Nunez does not come with the same guarantee of goals as Erling Haaland and is way more of a risk signing than Manchester City’s newest addition.
Former Reds striker Stan Collymore does, however, think the Uruguayan hotshot’s arrival on Merseyside is a gamble worth taking and that his overall game will endear him to the Anfield support.
Liverpool paid an initial £68m, with £15m to follow in add-ons, to snap up the classy forward from Benfica.
And while Collymore does not see Nunez on the same level as Haaland, he believes the 22-year-old can play a similar role to Roberto Firmino for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The Daily Mirror columnist said: “Nunez is not as guaranteed as Haaland, who at international level and at Borussia Dortmund has had a proper grounding and learned to deal with expectations at a level Nunez has not.
“That’s not to say Nunez hasn’t had a great season at Benfica, because he has. He’s a proper centre-forward but someone who can drift around and come off the left, run with the ball, and I like that.
“But he’s still way more of a risk and a gamble than Haaland, even though for Liverpool it’s a risk that’s worth taking. Firstly, that is because Manchester United were said to be in for him as well and you’re taking him from them. That’s good, that’s a warning shot across the bows of United and City, and others such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, which is something I’ve said I want to see from Liverpool for a while now.
Nunez more like Firmino than Haaland
“If my old club is going to cement their place as one of the top two teams in the Premier League for some time then it’s the kind of signing they need to make. We know other clubs will always have more money than Liverpool. But their owners, Fenway, are now putting up the money. And the fact they have denied a rival is great.
“That said, it wouldn’t surprise me Nunez took a few months to settle in and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t a 25 or 30-goal season striker for the next couple of seasons in the same way that Bobby Firmino hasn’t been. But Firmino brought so much more to the team and if Nunez can make time and space for others, bring them into play, close down very well and get 15 to 18 goals next season as Firmino did then I’ll be very happy.
“The Portuguese league isn’t as strong as the Bundesliga, we know that. So it’s going to be about the magic manager Jurgen Klopp imbues in him. But the statement is a very important one because it says, ‘We’ll go toe-to-toe with any of our rivals because people want to come and sign for Klopp’.
“The Klopp factor worked and, while I don’t expect the same numbers from Nunez as Haaland, or Harry Kane at his best and Heung-min Son at his best, if Liverpool are getting a player who can replicate what Firmino has done, then he’ll be a cracking bit of business.”