Premier League • England

Carragher more at ease with Nunez to Liverpool than Haaland to Man City, amid key Guardiola concern

Jamie Carragher, June 2022

Jamie Carragher has said that Erling Haaland’s move to Manchester City is a “worry” for the Premier League – but poses more questions than Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez deal.

Both sides have built up a rivalry at the summit of the English top flight for some time now. City have had the edge, with last season’s triumph their fourth title in five years.

But a key reason for their battle at the top continuing is their recruitment and ability to evolve their teams. And this summer has brought in a new phase of their rivalry.

City and Liverpool have both brought in top strikers from across Europe. Former Borussia Dortmund man Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 games for the Bundesliga club. He is an even more frightening prospect given he only turns 22 in July.

Nunez, meanwhile, signs for Liverpool having netted 34 goals in 41 games last term. The 22-year-old, whose birthday is later in June, scored two of those came against the Reds in the Champions League. Those strikes helped convince manager Jurgen Klopp to splash the cash.

According to former Liverpool centre-back Carragher, the Haaland deal leaves more questions unanswered than the Nunez transfer.

“It’s a worry for the rest of the Premier League,” Carragher told Sky Sports of City’s latest attacking acquisition.

“We are talking about one of the world’s greats even at such a young age, but I don’t think anyone should be raising the white flag too early because it’s going to be really interesting how he fits into the team.

“Pep Guardiola hasn’t really used a central striker in the last couple of years and he’s still been very successful.

“So, it will be really interesting to see how he settles. But from the Premier League’s point of view, I think it is fantastic that we’ve got one of the world’s leading players right now joining our league.

“That doesn’t always happen, certainly at a young age, and a lot of his best years are going to be in the Premier League. So, it’ll be really exciting for everyone to watch but it’s obviously going to be a tough proposition trying to stop Manchester City.”

Haaland, Man City impact unclear

Erling Haaland, new Man City striker, pictured here playing for Borussia Dortmund during Bundesliga match v Bochum

Carragher added that Haaland “won’t make that much of a difference” to a team which regularly achieves 90-plus-point Premier League finishes without a star striker.

The pundit instead insisted that Haaland’s arrival can help City get over the line in the Champions League.

He concluded that he is “intrigued” to see how Haaland – who is used to “end-to-end” Bundesliga football – adapts to Gaurdiola’s “technical” and “more slow” style of play.

On the flipside, Carragher backed Benfica star Nunez to slot into Liverpool’s front three and replace Sadio Mane.

The Senegal international is moving to Bayern Munich and his record of 120 goals in six seasons needed replacing.

Carragher backs Nunez at Liverpool

“Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp normally get the recruitment right, certainly when they spend big and the type of figures we’re talking here that’s what they spent on the goalkeeper [Alisson] and [Virgil] van Dijk and they made a huge difference,” said Carragher.

“Liverpool do need to refresh the frontline because of the age of that front three who have been absolutely fantastic for the last four or five years with Liverpool.

“It is sad to see it broken up in some ways but it had to come to an end sooner or later.

Darwin Nunez details revealed

Liverpool have a agreed a deal for Benfica forward Darwin Nunez in a deal worth up to £85 million.

“With Sadio Mane looking like he’s going to move on, Liverpool had to do something and he’s the one they’ve identified.

“I think the start of next season Liverpool’s front three will be [Mohamed] Salah, Nunez and [Luis] Diaz on the left.”

Liverpool, Man City get it right

Darwin Nunez, Benfica striker, warming up before Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Liverpool v Benfica - Anfield, Liverpool

Whatever the eventual outcome for the new signings, City and Liverpool will surely dominate the title race again next season.

They have made statement additions which will help the teams keep their places at the top of the table.

Chelsea are their nearest challengers and they are looking to close the gap. They spent £97.5million on their own striker deal last summer. However, Romelu Lukaku has failed to have much of an impact.

Given Liverpool and City’s record of recruitment, though, Haaland and Nunez will both slot right in.

Tottenham have Harry Kane and Manchester United are after a new centre-forward. In fact, the Red Devils showed interest in Nunez.

But whoever they get, Liverpool and City have pulled it out of the bag again and look set to dominate the title race once more.