Darwin Nunez was enjoying a great moment at Liverpool as the first-half of the campaign drew to a close, setting up what many thought would be a productive World Cup campaign.
As a number of publications noted, however, following Uruguay’s 2-0 defeat to Portugal, the 23-year-old was far from inspiring.
“The worst version of almost all emerged from the well. Valverde did not appear,” Diego Torres wrote for El Pais.
“Darwin Núñez appeared too much, sometimes as a substitute for a Portuguese centre-back, sometimes driving aimlessly, and all too often handing the ball over to the opponent.
“The man was the victim of an episode of alienation before the desolate gaze of Cavani.”
The former Benfica hitman has yet to hit the ground running in Doha, though it could be argued that Diego Alonso’s tactics hardly allowed the wealth of attacking talent at his disposal to flourish.
“He could not beat the veteran Pepe, who had already neutralized him in a Porto-Benfica, and he did not receive play from the midfielders,” futbol.com.uy reported about the No.27. “He struggled a lot and wore himself out scoring, but he could not weigh or confirm his good moment at Liverpool.”
There will be an opportunity for the striker to make his mark on the competition come the final group stage encounter with Ghana – a must-win for La Celeste.
Whilst it would benefit Liverpool to see our £64m star available for Jurgen Klopp’s warm weather training camp in Dubai ahead of the next stage of the domestic season, a firing Nunez at the World Cup could prove hugely beneficial for his confidence levels beyond the tournament.
With so much on the line, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that Alonso unshackles his side and allows our Uruguayan sensation to play his natural game.