Paul Merson notes in his Sportskeeda column that Jurgen Klopp will need to get Darwin Nunez in on the goals ‘immediately’ for Liverpool to push Manchester City into a close Premier league title race.
The Reds have strived to refresh their frontline this summer with Nunez moving to Anfield from Liga Portugal giants Benfica. Klopp paid As Aguias an initial £64m for their Uruguayan striker, rising up to £85m after add-ons. The 23-year-old has also put pen to paper on a six-year contract with Liverpool.
Nunez produced a remarkable record with Benfica last season after scoring 34 goals and laying on a further four assists. His haul over 41 appearances also included the 11-cap international finding the net six times over 10 Champions League games. Two of his UEFA strikes also came against the Reds.
Last season marked Nunez’s breakthrough on the Champions League stage, having never previously featured in the competition. But he adapted well and scored twice in just his second appearance at home to Barcelona, whilst adding further efforts away to Bayern Munich and Ajax before Liverpool.
Klopp will now need to see Nunez make a similarly swift adaptation to the demands of the Premier League. The Reds missed out on the title last term to Manchester City by just one point, and have since sold Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich for £27.5m, rising up to potentially £35m with all add-ons.
Merson warns Klopp of Liverpool’s Nunez need for close Premier League title race
Merson believes the loss of Mane on Merseyside will prove a worry for Liverpool when it comes to the Premier League title race, and Klopp will need Nunez firing from the off to pip Manchester City.
“The only worry for Liverpool is that they’ve lost an unbelievable player in Sadio Mane, who scored big goals for them over the years,” Merson wrote.
“They’ll have to rely on Darwin Nunez to settle as quickly as Luis Diaz did, which is obviously a long-shot because the Colombian took to English football like a duck to water.
“If Jurgen Klopp can get Nunez firing immediately, it’ll be tight once again. But if that doesn’t happen, I think Manchester City should win the Premier League.”
Mane struck 16 goals over his 34 Premier League appearances last season with only Mohamed Salah (23 in 35) scoring more for Liverpool, as Klopp’s side marginally missed out to Manchester City in the title race. Now, Nunez must fill Mane’s void, as only Diogo Jota (15 in 35) was also in double figures.