Premier League • England

Ferdinand explains why Darwin Nunez has been ‘undeniably’ worse than rival Prem signing more reminiscent of Klopp favourite

Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez

Rio Ferdinand has labelled Darwin Nunez as a “flop” for Liverpool so far, explaining why someone with a worse scoring ratio has looked a lot better.

Liverpool broke their transfer record to bring in Darwin Nunez during the summer transfer window. His form for Benfica last season was eye-catching, which made him an attractive target to replace Bayern Munich-bound Sadio Mane.

However, Liverpool have been missing Mane more than they have enjoyed Nunez so far. The Uruguay international has managed to score just three goals in the Premier League to date from seven appearances.

While that is not a bad record by any means, Nunez is yet to nail down a regular starting role in Jurgen Klopp’s system. A red card early in his Liverpool career did not help his case.

Liverpool will need him to add more consistency soon if they are to stand any chance of catching up with the clubs above them.

Instead, it is Arsenal who currently sit top of the Premier League, after themselves bringing in a new centre-forward in the shape of Gabriel Jesus.

Asked on his Vibe with Five podcast whether Jesus and Nunez had been “top” or “flop” signings, Ferdinand gave the former label to the Arsenal new boy and the latter one to Liverpool’s recent arrival.

Speaking about Nunez, Ferdinand responded: “Flop, so far. But we are going to go on stats. If we are going to go on goals, you can say they are both much as much this season, in terms of goals.

“But the impact, it’s all about the impact on your team and your teammates. Jesus has undeniably been better than Nunez.”

Darwin Nunez still has time to reverse early opinions

Nunez and Jesus have both actually scored the same number of goals in all competitions since their summer moves. The Liverpool man has five goals from 573 minutes of action across 12 appearances.

In contrast, Jesus has five goals from 1076 minutes in his 14 appearances. That said, the Arsenal focal point has added five assists, in comparison to Nunez’s one.

Still, perhaps the narratives have been unfair when Jesus has had more of an opportunity to build up his tallies. It is also natural he will look better in a team enjoying superior form.

With that in mind, Ferdinand qualified his description of Nunez as a flop by explaining how Jesus gives more to his team – in the same style that Roberto Firmino once did for Liverpool.

The former Manchester United defender continued: “You gave me a top or flop. I am going to lean on the side of a flop (for Nunez). I don’t think he’s been an outright flop, I am going to lean on that side.

“What he (Jesus) has given their team, I think he brings more than goals. I think Arteta would like more than just goals from that number nine. A bit like Firmino, when he was flying at Liverpool.

“When Firmino wasn’t getting 25 goals a season, was Klopp going, ‘he’s not for me. I am going to look out for a new striker’?”

Perhaps another factor affecting the assessment of Nunez is that he cost more than Jesus. But each club and player can only focus on themselves at present.

It is unlikely Liverpool would have been able to sign Jesus themselves due to how competitive they have been with his former employers Manchester City in recent years. Hence, they will have to hope to make the most of Nunez while wishing that Arsenal’s new frontman doesn’t cause them too much damage in meetings between the clubs.

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