Liverpool: Darwin Nunez's tantalising highlights from four-goal masterclass

  • Kobe Tong
Nunez scores for Liverpool.

Darwin Nunez silenced his critics with a four-goal masterclass for Liverpool on Thursday.

The 23-year-old is yet to make his first competitive appearance since moving to Anfield for £85 million and there has already been widespread criticism from rival fans in regards to his pre-season performances.

From jokes about misses in training to ‘highlights’ videos of his performances against Manchester United and Crystal Palace, Nunez has already had to put up with a lot since his Liverpool switch.

Nunez gets stuck in at Liverpool

Unfortunately, it’s what comes with making a Premier League move as high-profile as his these days, never mind when it’s one that follows the exit of a club legend like Sadio Mane.

While the likes of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz could quietly arrive on Merseyside and work their way into the starting XI at their own pace, the expectation on Nunez right now is to hit the ground running as soon as possible.

And although we’ll have to wait and see whether that will be possible or not when the Premier League season gets underway, Nunez showed real, real promise with his performance at the Red Bull Arena.

Nunez bags four vs RB Leipzig

That’s because the former Benfica striker raised two fingers to all the premature criticism by smashing no less than four goals past RB Leipzig despite only having come off the bench for the second-half.

Nunez finally broke his duck for Liverpool when Mohamed Salah allowed him to take a penalty, before doubling his money just seconds later with a one-on-one finish into the bottom corner.

The Reds’ record signing then showed off his penalty-box instincts by poking home his third and finally wrapped up a lucrative day’s work in stoppage time with a fourth goal that could well keep the Leipzig goalkeeper awake at night.

However, there was more to Nunez’s display than just his goalscoring because his all-round output was the best example yet of what Kopites can come to expect when he’s leading the line.

Liverpool's Nunez takes a shot.
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – RB Leipzig v Liverpool – Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany – July 21, 2022 Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez scores their third goal REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

Cutting the traditional number nine figure more than Liverpool have been used to in recent years, Nunez both showed off his ability to serve as a backboard for build-up play and to turn the defence in an instant during quick transitions.

More than just the goals

Away from the goals, there were key examples of Nunez really proving a thorn in Leipzig’s side, whether by getting in behind, rising for headers in the box or simply absorbing the ball with his back to goal.

It’s not necessarily something that Liverpool have been familiar with in the era of Roberto Firmino, but it’s nevertheless a style that Jurgen Klopp can tap into and start carving out different types of goals.

As such, be sure to indulge in the best indicator yet of what Nunez can offer Liverpool as part of the next evolution in their front line by checking out his individual highlights down below:

Promising, very promising.

An evolution for Liverpool’s front line

Rather amusingly, the jokes on social media at the moment are quipping that Nunez was considered the next Andy Carroll after his first two games and is suddenly now being heralded as the second coming of Luis Suarez.

Obviously, it goes without saying that neither is true and it’s easy to be drawn into all-or-nothing opinions from time to time. Rest assured, though, that we’re not getting carried ahead with ourselves here.

Rather, we’re gently pointing out that Nunez showed plenty of promising indications beyond just his goals that he can lead the next progression of Liverpool’s development in the role of a more traditional, but nevertheless dynamic and energetic, centre forward.

Darwin and Liverpool celebrate.
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – RB Leipzig v Liverpool – Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany – July 21, 2022 Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez celebrates with teammates after scoring their fourth goal to complete his hat-trick REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

In the words of Klopp himself: “The box of Pandora was opened for Darwin and then of course it was the perfect night for him. We always think if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure but they are completely normal human beings!

“And then if the first touch isn’t perfect and this generation of player read social media, which is really not smart. But they do. All of a sudden you get in a rush. But tonight is the best way to stop all of these discussions.

“He’s a different striker to what we already have – but he’s a really good one.”

More of the same please, Darwin.

News Now - Sport News