Darwin Nunez, Liverpool’s latest signing might have a hard time settling in at Anfield as a purported replacement for Sadio Mane who joined Bayern Munich this summer.
Darwin Nunez’s difficult debut cameo in Liverpool red against Manchester United in Thailand makes it clear that he would require a lot of work to replace Sadio Mane’s goals contributions next season.
Before the pre-season friendly match between Liverpool and Manchester United on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, Nunez missed some good chances in the build-up training which got Liverpool fans a bit worried ahead of 2022/2023 Premier League season.
The Uruguayan striker started the friendly game from the bench for the final 30 minutes because he was experiencing blister pain during Jurgen Klopp’s team’s final practice before the game.
It is easy to understand why the Anfield management had such a great interest in him. The club decided to sign him due to his constant pressure and eagerness to cut inside which is expected to strain Premier League defenses but that was not seen during the friendly game.
Note that Nunez scored 34 goals for Benfica last season across all competitions, but his finishing appears to be a weakness as was evident in the friendly match against Man United on Tuesday.
When he shot over from close range with the goal at his mercy, he wasted a wonderful opportunity to debut in style. His miss during the game proper was similar to the one he missed during a training session ahead of the game.
Mohamed Salah had excellent ball control before jinking inside and launching a curling shot that bounced off the post.
Nunez received the ball after it deflected off Tom Heaton’s extended arm, but he fluffed his lines and blazed it over.
Nunez’s finishing in Monday’s training session earned him mockery from rival fans on social media, and the bobbly Rajamangala National Stadium pitch didn’t help Nunez as he recreated the poor finishing in the 4-0 loss to United.
Darwin Gabriel Nez Ribeiro, a forward for Premier League side Liverpool and the Uruguayan national team, was born in Uruguay on June 24, 1999, and stands 1.7 meters tall.
Darwin Nunez graduated from Pearol’s youth program and was elevated to the first team in that same year. He signed a club record contract to play for Spanish Seungunda División team Almera in August 2019.
He was acquired by Benfica in 2020 for a club-record transfer fee of €24 million, making him the most expensive player ever acquired in Portuguese football.
With 26 goals in 28 games during his second season, he took home the Bola de Prata award for top scorer in the Primeira Liga and was also nominated to the team and player of the year for the league.
Nunez attracted the interest of numerous European clubs after a strong campaign, and Liverpool ultimately decided to purchase him in June 2022 for a transfer fee of €75 million (£64 million).
Nunez, who has previously represented Uruguay at several youth levels, was first called up to the main international team in October 2019. He scored against Peru in his first international game.
How good is Nunez?
Nunez has exceptional aerial skills, and he picks the right moments to make runs into the penalty area and across his opponent.
He possesses a good striker’s knack for rebounds, both from his own attempts and after shots from others, and is constantly on the lookout for second balls near to the goal.
Nunez is a right-footed forward who can play up front alone, with a partner, or in a front three out wide on the left.
The most striking feature of his game is his finishing. In combination with his deft positioning and movement, he poses a serious threat when getting close to the goal.
He is at ease staying high up the field when he plays as a centre-forward. There, he traps the opposition’s center backs and makes runs across the defense, frequently attacking the near post.
He also makes direct behind-the-back runs, although his effectiveness is greater when he outmuscles center backs with his height and strength in the upper body.
Therefore, when he is close to goal, he is most effective when he attacks balls played across goal or when he runs onto passes made diagonally behind the opposition.
Nunez FIFA 22
The FIFA 22 rating for Darwin Nunez is 76, with a potential rating of 85 (+9 Growth). He has a High Attacking Work Rate and a High Defensive Work Rate which make up his rich FIFA 22 attributes.