Paul Merson has given his prediction as to one selection dilemma Jurgen Klopp might be facing for Liverpool’s Premier League clash against West Ham on Sunday.
Both teams go into the fixture off the back of winning starts to their respective Europa League campaigns, while both have also looked impressive in the early weeks of the domestic season.
The Sky Sports pundit gave his weekly predictions to Sportskeeda and has backed the Reds for a narrow home win, while he also thinks one specific player who started against LASK on Thursday will keep his place.
Merson wrote: “I think Darwin Nunez will start ahead of Cody Gakpo. The Uruguayan is more pacy and direct, while the latter knits it all together and brings others into play. They are both talented players in their own right, but Nunez suits this game better.”
Merson’s analysis of the Liverpool duo is fair, although we’re likely to be kept guessing as to which of them will start at centre-forward right up until the team is named around 1pm on Sunday.
Nunez put forward a strong case yesterday with a goal and an assist in the win over LASK, which took him to five goal contributions for the campaign so far (Transfermarkt). He also bagged the winner at home to West Ham in the corresponding fixture last term, something which won’t be lost on Klopp.
However, the £120,000-per-week Gakpo (Capology) has generally been preferred to lead the line domestically, starting all but one Premier League game so far in 2023/24 and scoring in last weekend’s win away to Wolves (Transfermarkt).
Also, it was notable that while the Uruguayan played the full 90 minutes in Austria, the Dutch forward was an unused substitute and should therefore be much fresher by the time kick-off on Sunday comes around.
You could make a legitimate case for either of them to start at centre-forward, and it’s a testament to Liverpool’s riches in attack that one of Nunez or Gakpo could be left out and the team wouldn’t look any weaker for it.
As ever, we trust the manager to make what he believes is the right call when it comes to deciding on his starting XI this weekend.