Darwin Nunez let his Liverpool teammates down, according to the club’s coach, Jurgen Klopp, on Monday, August 15, when he decided to allow his emotions to get the best of him. Within a month of joining the Premier League club, the 23-year-old Uruguayan striker has gone full circle – criticized, hailed, and now, suffered a red card.
Note that Liverpool decided to break the bank for Darwin Nunez by paying a whopping €75million to buy him from Benfica on July 1, 2022. Coach Jurgen Klopp decided to go for the fast-rising Uruguayan striker when it was obvious that Sadio Mane would join German Bundesliga giants, Bayern Munich.
From all indications, Klopp agreed to pay so heavily for Nunez because he wanted to build his team around the 23-year-old striker. But that has been so frustrating for both the club and Nunez who has been learning the nitty-gritty of the Premier League the hard way.
Recall that during this season’s pre-season games, Darwin Nunez almost made the critics of Liverpool believe that the club has made a very terrible buy after he was filmed making some costly miss-runs, poor shooting, and missing golden goalscoring opportunities. That attracted a swamp of criticism to the player even though that happened in friendly games.
To the relief of coach Klopp, Nunez gave a resounding performance when Liverpool faced Manchester City in this season’s Community Shield and sealed the performance by scoring the winning goal. The Uruguayan followed that up by scoring in his debut Premier League game on August 6 which was against Fulham.
When his critics and Liverpool fans thought Nunez has finally arrived, he failed to control his temper in his debut home game at Anfield on Monday which was against Crystal Palace. The Uruguayan striker decided to headbutt Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen leaving referee Paul Tierney with no choice but to send him off in the 57th minute.
What happened to Darwin Nunez?
Liverpool as a team has been struggling since the 2022-2023 Premier League season kicked off. Recall that Liverpool drew their opening game against Fulham on August 6. They were expected to get their league campaign on track by beating Crystal Palace at Anfield but it was not to be.
During the matchday two matchup, Crystal Palace scored as early as in the 32nd minute courtesy of Wilfried Zaha. That goal mounted pressure on Liverpool’s players in front of their home fans.
The pressure was so evident on Darwin Nunez who has been desperately trying to prove to the club’s fans that he is worth the €75million Liverpool invested in him. The pressure heightened his temper so much that when he got a shove from Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen, the best reaction he gave was to headbutt the defender. Andersen went straight to the ground after receiving the headbutt from the Uruguayan striker.
Referee Paul Tierney didn’t need a VAR review to confirm that Nunez has committed violent conduct that warranted a straight red. Hence, the promising youngster had to leave the field with his head bowed in the 57th minute.
Luckily for Liverpool that were left with a man short, Luis Diaz came to the rescue of the club as he scored the equalizer four minutes after Nunez had left the pitch. Unfortunately, that was all Liverpool could produce with their 24 attempts. Hence, the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Highlight Darwin Nunez vs Joachim Andersen.— Berita Sepakbola Dunia (@gilabola_ina) August 16, 2022
Source: ESPN/PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/yrCOGVJr2y
What is Darwin Nunez’s punishment and what are the games Nunez will miss?
The red card Darwin Nunez received on August 15 against coach Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace will keep him away from Premier League action for three consecutive games.
This means that Nunez will not be eligible to play the league game against Manchester United on August 22, the game against Bournemouth on August 27 and against Newcastle United on August 31.
All things being equal, coach Jurgen Klopp will have the opportunity to select Darwin Nunez against Everton on September 3. However, the Uruguayan striker will wait for five weeks to play his next game at Anfield which will be against Wolves on September 10.
What did Jurgen Klopp say about Nunez’s red card?
After Darwin Nunez was red carded in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Anfield, the coach of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp admitted that the Uruguayan striker let his team down.
The German tactician went on to note that the coaching crew would take advantage of the three-match ban slammed on Nunez to work more on the physicality of the player. Klopp was however quick to add that working on Nunez’s physicality during the suspension is not a punishment to the player for letting his team down.
“Darwin knows he let his teammates down. I will leave him alone for a night and then talk to him tomorrow,” said Klopp.
🗣 “He knows that now, I will talk to him.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 15, 2022
Jürgen Klopp on how he will deal with the Darwin Núñez incident. pic.twitter.com/ZhSxCA7eVX
He added: “Of course it was red, he was provoked but that is not how he should behave.
“It was not a reaction we want to see. He knows he will be challenged in this way, center-halves will do that, but it is not a reaction we want.
“But we will use the time productively. We will use the suspension for physical work to make him strong – not a punishment but to make him stronger.”
🗣 “That’s of course a red card, it’s not how he should behave.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 15, 2022
Jürgen Klopp on the Darwin Núñez red card. pic.twitter.com/x0YguJk8vh
Note that Darwin Nunez is now the first Liverpool player to be red carded in his home debut after Joe Cole against Arsenal in 2010.
So far in the 2022-2023 Premier League campaign, Nunez has scored a goal and provided an assist in two league games.
🗣 “He’s going to be disappointed but it’s down to us to get around him.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 15, 2022
James Milner on the Darwin Núñez red card incident. 🟥 pic.twitter.com/HKOF07VZzQ