Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez has earned high praise from former Everton and Leeds United goal machine Jermaine Beckford, who has lauded the Uruguayan for his “fearlessness”.
The 24-year-old talent has had a mixed reaction during his first 12 months in the Premier League, after joining the Reds in a club record-breaking deal worth up to £85m from Benfica in the summer of 2022.
Despite being the marquee signing for the club a little over a year ago, his start to life in English football has been controversial and chaotic at the best of times with red cards, lack of composure and limited game time putting question marks over his head as to whether he was a worthwhile addition.
Indeed, Nunez’s first season on Merseyside exposed his naivety in the final third and the raw talent that would clearly take time for Jurgen Klopp to polish, however, in his second season he is already starting to show promising development on those areas he needed to work on.
Liverpool in general look like a different team altogether this season and the Uruguayan has also seemingly had a complete transformation, something that has not gone unnoticed by ex-professionals in the game.
Beckford spoke on Nunez’s significant shift in mentality and huge influence in Liverpool’s attacking threat on Premier League Productions this week:
“You mention Nunez there, he has three league goals in six games, what is different about him this time?” Beckford was asked.
The former Leeds striker responded:
“His focus, he’s so much more focused, he’s far more comfortable and relaxed in his surroundings. Anfield is an intimidating place, but Nunez has had a few conversations with Marcelo Bielsa, the Uruguay manager, who has got him to knuckle down and be clinical in these areas. He’s given Darwin Nunez the fearlessness he was lacking last season,”
Our thoughts on Darwin Nunez’s new lease of life at Liverpool…
There is nobody who will be more excited about Nunez’s transformation this season than Liverpool supporters and seeing him thrive will be a huge relief after such a troubling campaign for the Merseyside giants last season.
The number nine was seen as the successor for Roberto Firmino, with Klopp seemingly keen to bring in a different skillset in the centre-forward role as the Brazilian was an expert in the false nine, whilst Nunez is more of a traditional striker in the sense of having a sole focus on finishing chances.
Cody Gakpo provides competition for Nunez in the final third and became the trusted starting central forward after taking like a duck to water in emulating that famous false nine role that Firmino excelled in during Liverpool’s most successful period.
However, an incredible cameo against Newcastle last month proved that Nunez is ready to make the position his own in the team and further earned him the trust of his German coach, who had otherwise kept him on the bench during the opening games of the Premier League campaign.
Over six Premier League appearances, the South American star has scored three goals, delivered one assist and successfully completed 50% of his dribbles, as well as averaging 2.3 shots per game, as per SofaScore.
With that being said, the future is looking brighter than ever for Nunez and if he can continue to bring his huge personality and explosive nature into his game it will put Liverpool in a great position to compete for trophies and success this season.