Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that he Darwin Nunez wasn’t at his best before being subbed off last night.
Darwin started on the left of Liverpool’s attacking quartet as they aimed to mount an unlikely comeback against Real Madrid.
So often the Reds biggest threat, the Uruguayan had a couple of moments that tested Thibaut Courtois. An early drive was stopped by the legs of the Belgian ‘keeper, before he palmed away a decent-looking curling effort from the edge of the box.
But despite those moments of potential, Klopp suggested in his post-match press conference that he needed a little more from Darwin. The manager hauled him off with more than half an hour still to play.
“Darwin looked like he was not on the absolute top level as well and then we need to defend that side as well because conceding a goal is not helpful in that situation,” said Klopp. “Yeah, we can change there, that’s why we did it. We wanted to mix it a little bit, that’s true.”
Klopp gets it wrong with Darwin
Whatever explanation Jurgen has, taking off Nunez last night made absolutely zero sense. None at all. All night, the 23-year-old was the only one who looked like he got the memo that Liverpool needed at least three goals.
While Jota laboured and Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah were relatively nullified, Darwin looked the most likely. He tested Courtois on a couple of occasions and looked to have the beating of Dani Carvajal.
Taken off with more than half an hour to go, any threat Liverpool carried left the field with the £64m man. It was pretty much the same story at Bournemouth last weekend.
Had the Reds had a game to prepare for, that would have been more understandable. Nunez has had his injury troubles lately and Klopp could do with keeping him fresh.
But Liverpool don’t play again for 16 days. With goals needed, no game coming up and Darwin also looking lively, questions have to be asked of Jurgen here.
Bringing off Nunez for Harvey Elliott was akin to Klopp waving the white flag. There’s no guarantee that Nunez would have scored of course, but he’s liable to create something from nothing. Half an hour was still more than enough time for him to reign a bit of chaos down on Madrid. As it was, he never really got that chance.
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