Darwin Nunez will benefit his offensive team-mates plenty, reckons South American journalist and football expert Juan Arango.
According to Arango, Nunez’s ability to run the channels will allow Luis Diaz to head into more central areas where he likes cutting in anyway, and take some attention from Mo Salah in the penalty area.
Nunez arrived for a guaranteed £76m this week and will officially join his new team-mates for pre-season in three weeks’ time.
“On top of being hungry, he has great awareness as well as great work rate. He also offers an offensive presence that (you can say) Liverpool has not had since (maybe) Luis Suarez or Fernando Torres. People haven’t mentioned his size. He’s 1.87m, just a little taller than Edinson Cavani,” Arango began.
“He can complement Mo (taking a lot of attention away from him, thus freeing him). He can challenge Mo in the scoring, although challenge sounds like they’re competing, when in reality they will be benefiting from each other’s presence.
“But the other player that will also be allowed to shine is Luis Díaz. As a defender, do you stay put to prevent him from making runs and cuts outside of the area, or follow Nunez wide?”
Not only do Nunez’s traits suit his likely partners in the front-three, but also some of more Liverpool’s creative players from deep. Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best crosser in world football, while Liverpool also start attacks via long, raking balls from the right-foot of Virgil van Dijk.
“As a player of his size, Nunez has surprising speed. So keep that in mind. He also becomes a viable option for Trent and his crosses. Hell, even van Dijk and his passes from deep!” Arango added.
In terms of potential worries, Arango stated the only issue would be an adaptation period and the fact Nunez is still inexperienced.
“His weakness could be that he is still relatively unpolished. People have asked me about the physicality of the Premier League, but I answered the Uruguayan League is only a step below The UFC!” Arango continued.
“His “adaptation” period might be longer because he will have an international date and the World Cup that will not give him continuity. But I want to see where he’s at in March and beyond. People have gotten excited with players that have a quick start, but they fizzle out come crunch time.
“THAT is why they brought him. He will adapt culturally as Luis Díaz will help as well as the other Spanish speakers. He’s come into an ideal situation where he can fit in and produce (almost) immediately. But give him time.”
With Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino providing very viable options at centre-forward, there is no rush for Nunez to start banging the goals in from Day One.
Still, with a full pre-season behind him, it might be that Jurgen Klopp trusts his 22-year-old right from the go.
Salah didn’t like the ‘competition’ from Mane to be Liverpool’s top goalscorer, or for the PL ‘goalden boot’.
Imagine how threatened he’ll feel from Nunez to usurp him from the position of top scorer he sees as rightfully his.