Robbie Fowler feels “certain” that Darwin Nunez will explode into goalscoring life for Liverpool after his “ridiculous” pre-season treatment.
The Reds have made waves this summer by signing the Uruguay international from Benfica. Not only has he cost an initial £64million, but the fee could rise to a club-record £85million.
Nunez has therefore had a lot of eyes on his performances, which have proved a mixed bag. A debut against Manchester United saw him miss a golden chance. United’s eventual 4-0 win added to the weight of the miss for some critics.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hit back by branding the criticism of his new striker a “joke”. And Nunez responded himself by hitting four goals against RB Leipzig last Thursday.
Liverpool great Fowler has also hit back, insisting that Klopp’s glowing verdict on Nunez is final in his eyes.
“So, Darwin Nunez is up and running with his Liverpool career and has suddenly gone from zero to hero with his four goals against RB Leipzig,” the pundit wrote in a Daily Mirror column.
“It was ludicrous to think that Nunez was being doubted after playing just a few minutes against Manchester United and Crystal Palace on the tour to Asia.
“He got a taste of what any big-money signing faces in football these days if they’re not scoring in every game – but it’s ridiculous.
“Nunez has come to Liverpool off the back of a fantastic campaign at Benfica, and Jurgen Klopp has bought him for the next few years, not for one pre-season.
“I’d seen that Klopp was perfectly happy with the way the lad has slotted in to the club and his performances in training. And if Klopp’s pleased that’s all that matters.”
Fowler backs Nunez and Liverpool record
Liverpool have built up a track record for getting their signings exactly right in the Klopp era. Nunez is replacing Sadio Mane, who scored 120 goals in six seasons at Anfield but has now gone to Bayern Munich.
Fowler added, though, that comparisons between such “different players” with “different qualities” are also unwise. Instead, he insisted he feels “certain” that Nunez will write his own successful Anfield story like Mane did.
“Mane will be a big miss and I’m not kidding myself about that,” Fowler said. “And it’s a gamble whenever you spend big money on replacements. But Nunez has the sort of stats to suggest he’s got the ability and mentality to fit in and thrive at Liverpool.
“The club did extensive homework on him, as they do with all their signings, so I’m certain he’ll play a big part when he fully settles in. And let’s not forget either that he’s working with one of the greatest managers around.
“Klopp has got a history of making players better. He did it with Mane and with a host of players when he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund. And I’ve got no doubt at all that he’ll improve Nunez.”
Klopp surely has it right
In his assessment, Klopp insisted that people should “forget” the fee Liverpool have paid for Nunez.
He also called for patience, with the Uruguayan different to the attacking players which have so far driven Klopp’s success.
Unfortunately, modern football does not allow for patience, but Klopp’s record gives him an advantage.
Every player that has had a role to play in his team over the years has improved, even fringe players.
Nunez will be at the heart of Klopp’s attacking evolution and he knows he will have the support and backing to thrive.