Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Darwin Nunez is ready to start a Premier League game for Liverpool but hinted that the Uruguayan may need to wait until he’s named in the starting XI.
The £64m striker made a superb impact during last weekend’s Community Shield defeat of Manchester City when he entered the fray on the hour mark – he earned the Reds a penalty and then got his name on scoresheet in injury time with a well-taken header.
But despite hitting the ground running for the Reds, the German tactician hinted that the Uruguay international may have to once again settle for a spot on the bench when Liverpool begin their Premier League campaign away to Fulham tomorrow.
“Darwin is ready, but does that mean he has to start? I don’t know,” Klopp said (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo). “We have different options and that is what we will use and Darwin needs time to get used to a lot of things, but he is already a real help.
“It went really quick from the first (pre-season) game when I thought ‘What are we doing with him?’. Not because of him but because of the passes we played for him. It was a proper pre-season training session for him and we gave him a lot of runs to do.
“He is completely settled. He said himself he was very nervous in the beginning and I sympathise with that a lot, it’s normal. But he settled pretty quickly because all the players, not only the Spanish speakers, and that was very helpful and he feels at home after a short period.
“He had a real impact in the first final we could have played but the work will not stop and he is in the best possible place.”
Bobby Firmino, who started last week’s clash with City and is expected to start down the middle of Klopp’s front-three if Nunez is named as a substitute at Craven Cottage, is believed to have struck up a great friendship already with our new No. 27.
But despite the pair getting on well, the former Borussia Dortmund boss was keen to stress that the two players are ‘completely different players’ and we therefore shouldn’t expect to see similarities in their game.
“They are completely different players, they like each other and talk a lot,” Klopp added. “They are both from South America, both offensive players, can play different positions – what can they learn?
“Before I arrived, people probably thought Bobby was not the player he is. He is an exceptional player, has his absolute own way of playing football. Imagine Bobby would try to play like Darwin or the other way around, a bit strange and not necessary. As a person, yes, but as a player I’m not sure.”
We all know that our No. 9 mastered the false-nine role whereas Nunez is more of an ‘out-and-out’ striker.
He will play on the last man and will want the ball in behind meaning we may be set for a slight tweak in tactics this season.
No stark differences were noticeable against the Citizen’s last week but we did look in control right throughout the game and it was great to see how we reacted to the Sky Blues equalising late on.
We kept our heads up, kept playing football and eventually netted another two goals before the full-time whistle.
We’re once again looking forward to the new campaign, let’s hope we can be as competitive this season as we were last
You can catch Klopp speaking below courtesy of our Twitter page:
🗣️ “Darwin needs time to get used to a lot of things but he is already a real help.”
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) August 5, 2022