Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp highlights how Darwin Nunez has to fit in to Liverpool system after match-winning brace; commends ‘essential’ Milner after milestone

Jurgen Klopp after a Liverpool win

Jurgen Klopp has explained what Darwin Nunez has to do for Liverpool in their current system after his brace earned them a win over Southampton.

Liverpool went into the World Cup break on a high note by beating Southampton 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. They took the lead via Roberto Firmino in the sixth minute, before being pegged back when Che Adams equalised three minutes later.

But Nunez, starting wide on the left, went on to score a brace in the first half to restore Liverpool’s lead. The summer signing now has five goals from his first 10 Premier League appearances, so things are certainly looking up for him.

There would be no change to the score after the break, either, ensuring all three points stayed with Liverpool. It was therefore a losing start for new Southampton manager, Nathan Jones.

Liverpool have now amassed 22 points from their opening 14 matches in the 2022-23 Premier League. Their form could have been better, but they have risen to sixth in the table for the time being.

Liverpool’s target after the World Cup will be to keep creeping up the table. For now, they can reflect on their season up to this point as they try to recharge.

In terms of their most recent win, Klopp was pleased with the way they utilised Nunez and Mohamed Salah in the first half in particular.

Klopp – who had to watch the game from the stands due to a touchline ban – said afterwards: “The first half was really good.

“We did everything Southampton didn’t want us to do. We used the speed of Mo and Darwin.

“In the system we play, Darwin has to defend the left wing. Great play offensively from him. We didn’t do that enough in the second half.”

Jurgen Klopp pays compliment to James Milner

The game gave James Milner the chance to reach the landmark of 600 Premier League appearances between all his clubs, when he came on as a substitute for Harvey Elliott in the 68th minute.

Klopp obviously thinks highly of his vice-captain and praised his professionalism.

The manager said: “Only the fourth player to reach 600 games? Stevie didn’t reach 600? Interesting.

“A lot of things need to come together. Milly is, you have to be a top, top, top professional. I’m really proud to be around him. An exceptional player and person. Essential for everything.”

It was not pleasant for Klopp, though, to have to watch the game away from the touchline.

He admitted: “It’s the first game I’ve watched from the stands. It’s not my favourite place.

“It’s not too cool we got the information yesterday. Friday afternoon, the training is already done. We had to organise but it was fine. We got the messages across.”

Liverpool will return on the week of December 20 with a Carabao Cup tie against Manchester City. Southampton will also be in action that week in the same competition, against Lincoln City.

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