Jurgen Klopp has been urging Darwin Nunez to go easy on himself during an up and down debut season at Liverpool.
Much was expected of Nunez following a big summer move to Anfield last year. Although he’s done well in parts – and scored 15 times – there have been a number of teething issues as he gets to grips with Klopp’s instructions.
According to The Athletic though, the Liverpool boss is still fully behind the Uruguayan. They claim that both Klopp and assistant Pep Lijnders have been ‘repeatedly’ urging Nunez not to be too hard on himself.
Despite some travails, Jurgen and Pep are both reportedly happy with the 23-year-old’s progress, something they are said to have reassured him of privately.
It’s claimed that the Liverpool coaches had always expected Darwin to be a ‘long-term project.’ As a result, they still seem convinced that Nunez can be their man.
Nunez still finding his feet at Liverpool
The primary problem for Nunez during his time at Liverpool so far seems to have been an inability to fully grasp English. Without a full command of the language, it’s obviously difficult to get a proper understanding of tactical instructions. With the system now changing once again, it’s no wonder that Darwin is looking a little lost out on the pitch.
That wasn’t always the case, though. At one stage of the season – prior to the World Cup break – it had looked like things were clicking nicely for Nunez.
After a slightly difficult start he had found his feet and was scoring goals. There was hope that the former Benfica man could continue that steady trajectory until he was a fully-formed Liverpool centre-forward.
Unfortunately, niggly injury issues, the return of Luis Diaz and the good form of Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota have halted that progress. Thrust into the starting line-up against Fulham last night, he didn’t grasp his chance.
But the key here is calmness and patience. The calmness needs to come from Nunez himself. When he’s out of the starting XI, he needs to understand why and that he still has a role to play nevertheless.
And the patience needs to come from his coaches, teammates and the Liverpool fans. Nunez is still very raw and still young, too. There’s no question that he can still be a real asset to the club and he has been already this season. But lose that patience or try to move him on, and the Reds could come to regret that down the line. Keep your head up and keep going, Darwin!