Ian Wright lauds ‘sensational’ Liverpool man and predicts stunning end to season after recent upturn in form
Ian Wright has hailed Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez and backed the summer signing to have a big final few months of the campaign after turning his fortunes around in recent appearances.
Liverpool raised eyebrows by spending an initial £64million on Nunez in July last year. The deal has the potential to be worth £85m depending on bonuses, which would make the Uruguay international Liverpool’s most expensive player of all time.
Nunez did enjoy a fantastic campaign in 2021-22, bagging 34 goals in 41 matches for Benfica. Despite this, some fans and pundits alike were left surprised by Liverpool’s decision to spend so much money on a player with little experience at the top level. Comparisons were immediately made with Erling Haaland, whom Manchester City captured for just £51m.
Nunez had an eventful start to life at Liverpool, scoring some good goals but also missing plenty of big chances.
So far this term he has looked very much like a work in progress, rather than the finished article.
But in recent matches the 23-year-old has improved. He did well against Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday night, setting up Mo Salah for Liverpool’s first goal as Jurgen Klopp’s team ran out 2-0 winners. Nunez raced down the left wing before putting the ball into a dangerous area. This allowed Salah to finish past Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Nunez’s recent performances have earned praise from pundit Wright. He reckons the marquee signing will prove to have a big impact in the next few months.
“I feel it is going to happen for him as he is playing sensationally,” Wright said on his Wrighty’s House Podcast (via Liverpool Echo). “The goal he set up for Salah and his all-round energetic pace and output, he is doing everything except scoring.
Liverpool player unlucky he doesn’t have more goals – Ian Wright
“I can’t put my finger on why someone with such good technical ability, it’s not even a case of needing to slow down before he shoots, it just doesn’t seem like it is going to go in for him at the moment.
“The fact he is not scoring as frequently as he would like to score, you have to get yourself in a situation where you can hit the target instantly.”
Nunez is not the only recent arrival at Liverpool to have struggled at the start. Cody Gakpo joined the club in January but did not register a goal or assist until his seventh appearance. The Dutchman doubled Liverpool’s lead against Everton by finishing at the back post after being picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
During a recent interview, Nunez discussed how he is adapting to the Liverpool team, and he mentioned Gakpo.
“Here at Liverpool I have teammates who are all high-quality footballers,” the attacker said.
“I need to be able to understand how they play a little more. And it’s the same for them with me. It’s what settling into each other’s games is all about.
“They get used to how I play and, in turn, I grow accustomed to how they play. I think that in time we’ll start to see some good and positive results.
Darwin Nunez talks about Cody Gakpo
“For example, Gakpo is a quality player and has a lot of class. He’s physically strong too. I think he’ll be able to make people very happy at Liverpool.
“You have to also understand that he’s come here at a time when we’re not in the best of form and he will need time to settle in too.
“I think he’s done well in the games he’s featured in so far. I hope that with time I’ll develop a great understanding and then go on to bring some joy to the Liverpool fans.”
However, one pundit has explained why Klopp is at fault for Gakpo’s slow start at Anfield.