Nat Hayward has highlighted just how important Darwin Nunez will be for Liverpool come the AFCON break.
The Uruguayan international has been a reliable producer of goal contributions this term, amassing 13 goal contributions in 17 games.
With the Merseysiders set to be without Mo Salah’s services between 13th January – 11th February, the 24-year-old could be pivotal for the Reds’ chances of attaining maximum points.
“This season in the Premier League he has scored or assisted in seven of the 11 games he has featured in – five in which he was used as a substitute,” the freelance journo wrote for BBC Sport.
“In fact, the only game that Nunez has started this season and not contributed to a goal was the 1-1 draw with Luton where he missed a sitter from five yards and had nine efforts on goal (see below).
“Liverpool’s only loss this season came against Spurs, where he did not feature at all.
“Since his arrival in the Premier League, the Reds have a win percentage of 30% (three out of 10) in games Nunez has been unavailable for, as opposed to 60% (24 out of 40) in games in which he has featured.
“While naturally this is only a small sample size and we cannot read too much into it, it does at least hint that Nunez has a positive impact when he plays.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men are set to face Bournemouth (A), Chelsea (H), Arsenal (A) and Burnley (H) in that period of time.
Time for Darwin Nunez to shine
The question on many a pundit’s lips: can Darwin Nunez shine whilst Mo Salah is away from the Premier League limelight?
The forward’s relationship with our Egyptian King on the pitch has been a big reason why Liverpool have been so devastating at the other end of the pitch.
That said, the former Benfica hitman has registered the third most goals and assists per 90 (1.19) behind Mo Salah (1.21) and Erling Haaland (1.40), according to FBref, which indicates some cause for optimism.