‘He’s got to’ – Ex-PL striker makes Premier League title race admission and outlines Darwin Nunez’s importance

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Charlie Austin has claimed that Liverpool new boy Darwin Nunez has ‘got to hit the ground running’ in order for the Reds to be able to compete with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League next season.

Pep Guardiola pipped the Anfield outfit to the league title by a single point last term and we look all set for another thrilling title race in the new campaign.

The Cityzens too have strengthened their frontline with the signing of Norway international Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and ex-Southampton man Austin believes Nunez is up against it in being faced with the challenge of replacing Sadio Mane.

“It’s a big ask to replace him (Mane),” Austin told talkSPORT (via Liverpool Echo).

“Nunez has come into replace him and he’s got to hit the ground running straight away. Liverpool can’t afford to drop points or start slowly compared to Man City.

“They’ve just signed (Erling) Haaland who’s arguably the best centre-forward in the world at the moment, so it’s going to be interesting.”

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It may take time for the 23-year-old to settle in the Premier League, but if last season is anything to go by, Jurgen Klopp has signed a world-class striker.

He netted 34 times in 41 appearances for SL Benfica last term, including two goals against the Reds in the Champions League quarter-final tie.

Mane was terrific at Liverpool, but it’s now time for us to fight for silverware without him tormenting opposition defenders.

City will once again offer a real challenge on all fronts, but we proved last season that we have a squad talented enough to seriously compete for all four major trophies.

It will be interesting to see if there is a slight change of tactics next season with us now set to operate with an out-and-out striker for the first time in a long while.

We face City in the Community Shield on July 30 before the Premier League campaign begins on August 6 against Fulham at Craven Cottage – until then, the lads will be working hard in pre-season to ensure they’re in the best shape possible ahead of the new season.

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