Darwin Núñez could not have come at a better time for Liverpool as the Reds looked down and out before he came out and gave Jurgen Klopp what he needed.
Things did not go as Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp imagined on Sunday afternoon’s trip to Newcastle United. The second match saw another red card and another controversial decision. It seemed to dominate the headlines for most of the game until Darwin Núñez arrived.
The Uruguayan came on at the perfect moment and provided exactly what Liverpool’s game was missing. Some energy and lively confusion up front to cause problems for a Newcastle defense that has been fairly unprovoked so far.
Immediately, Núñez took a grip of the game,running in from the back and pressing the Newcastle defense high. In pre-season he developed his ability to take his shots and he did so brilliantly, first
for the opening Liverpool goal of the game set up by Diogo Jota, and then for the second when he was set off by Mohamed Salah.
It was exactly what Liverpool needed. Throughout the game, Liverpool struggled to create chances and score or even come close. Before the arrival of the Uruguayan, Liverpool barely even managed a shot.
The man is lying, that’s understandable. It looked like Newcastle ran down the clock and did enough to get the result.
But Núñez changed all that. He made Newcastle look like a ten-man team and forced Eddie Howe’s side to chase the game. As he was in good form in the pre-season as well and scored four goals in five matches, this could be a significant moment in his career as well.
He still plays iconic games in a Liverpool shirt. In Newcastle with ten men to change the game and turn it on its head, so that it remains a game that will forever be synonymous with his name.
Núñez always took time to get going in a Liverpool shirt. Even while at Benfica, he really caught fire in his second season, scoring 34 goals in all competitions for the Portuguese national team and catching Klopp’s eye.
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Now it could be a lift he repeats at Liverpool.
Until that game, he had only played 28 minutes in Major League Soccer this season. He only got 13 minutes in that game, but it was enough to score two goals. At this rate, he will average a goal every 20 minutes for Liverpool in 2023/24, better than a certain Norwegian to whom many compare him. Erling Haaland has “only” scored a goal every 86 minutes for Manchester City in the Premier League this season.