Darwin Nunez had to wait a full year before he started to shine at Liverpool, but he couldn’t have picked a better moment. On Sunday, his two goals for Newcastle United as a late substitution transformed a loss into a win for Jurgen Klopp’s squad, possibly demonstrating what all the excitement was about.
He has continually struggled since his club-record transfer deal from Benfica in the summer of 2022, which could have been valued up to £85 million for Liverpool. He has displayed flashes of brilliance on par with the best in the world, but these performances are frequently hampered by bad finishing, erratic decision-making, and distractions from the media, raising questions about his capacity to handle the pressure.
Nunez, though, is always interesting in some manner.
He is an uncut gem that will take time to shine in the environment. His ability to annoy spectators, teammates, and Klopp alike has been on display this season. At the age of 24, some have questioned if he can give Liverpool the real stuff.
These doubts won’t go away completely thanks to Nunez’s crucial brace at St. James’ Park, which helped Liverpool win 2-1 despite being reduced to ten men following Virgil van Dijk’s late dismissal, but Klopp will be relieved by the skillful way Nunez took advantage of his chances and converted them into goals. Liverpool needs more consistent performances this season, and Nunez’s display at Newcastle is an affirmation of Klopp’s steadfast commitment.
Klopp praised, “Nunez’s performance was terrific. He was frustrated not to start, clearly not happy. It’s the beginning of the season, we need stability and results, but he will play, no doubt about that.”
However, Nunez’s efforts should be read in light of Liverpool’s plans without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, the trio who signed for future clubs after Firmino’s move to Bayern Munich last summer. With only Salah remaining from the famed front three that conquered the Champions League and Premier League titles, it’s time for Nunez to step in .He has yet to make an appearance in a match this season. Klopp has used him off the bench in each of Liverpool’s three matches, indicating the manager’s uncertainty about getting the best out of his most expensive signing.
His first outing at Newcastle highlights why Klopp had his doubts. Running onto a through ball, Nunez lost control, and in a matter of seconds, Harvey Barnes almost put Newcastle ahead 2-0. But Nunez’s silver lining is that despite mistakes and missed opportunities, he possesses the capacity to shake off negatives and keep pushing forward. When he netted the equalizer shortly after squandering a similar chance, it was a clinical finish that only an in-form striker would attempt.
His challenge is to consistently make use of those opportunities, and it’s a puzzle Klopp is tasked with solving. A forward with pace, movement, and finishing ability (when it comes) is a critical asset for Liverpool. When Nunez scored after breaking free from Salah, it was a better finish than what Nick Pope expected, poking fun at a player often criticized for being less clinical. Nunez’s dilemma is to consistently grasp the big chances while struggling with the easier ones, a fault that training ground time should ideally rectify.
Nunez salvaged and won the game for Liverpool, showcasing his ability to remain engaged in matches and overcome odds. His contribution proved the resolve of Klopp’s team. They stayed ahead for a long time, and despite Alexander Isak’s careless dishonesty, losing van Dijk, Nunez found a way for Liverpool to keep battling. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker made crucial saves, and Miguel Almiron’s goal halted Newcastle’s 2-0 lead at halftime. However, Nunez ensured there was no way back for the home team.
“We should have finished the game,” said Eddie Howe, manager of Newcastle, “and that’s probably the challenge we’re all facing.” “There was goalmouth activity and many opportunities for us. One of the best saves I’ve ever seen from Almiron was made by their custodian, but it wasn’t for us.
Nevertheless, Nunez proved to have a killer instinct and gave Liverpool the victory against all odds. The day he genuinely made a difference while under pressure was the day he earned his Liverpool jersey.
Nunez must now transform this from an infrequent draw into a recurrent miracle.