Sports pundit Janusz Michallik has admitted that he has been really disappointed by Darwin Nunez after Liverpool beat Newcastle United on Monday night.
The game proved to be another frustrating one for the Uruguayan. Darwin Nunez now has only one goal in his last 14 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions.
As shown by Whoscored, Nunez had eight shots on goal during the 4-2 victory over the Magpies. That was more than any other player on the pitch. And yet, he was unable to beat Martin Dubravka.
Nunez’s work-rate cannot be questioned. He gives absolutely everything when he is out on the pitch. Jurgen Klopp has been full of praise for Nunez this season. However, he will know that he has not been good enough in front of goal.
Only Dominic Calvert-Lewin is performing worse against his expected goals tally in the Premier League this season, according to FBRef.
And speaking to ESPN, Janusz Michallik has admitted that he is now wondering whether Nunez is ever going to be at the level the Reds need him to be at.
“Very disappointing. And of course, the pushback is immediate because how much he does without the ball, which he does. His work-rate has been better. It had to be. Remember he wasn’t starting because of that inability to counter-press immediately, Jurgen Klopp has said that before.
“He’s got so many chances. He wastes so many chances. But then again, you can say well at least he finds himself in those scoring opportunities. Sometimes he creates for others. So that’s all bonuses,” he said.
“For me, the bottom line is he’s insufficient technically. He really is. That’s part of the reason. He’s not clean on the ball. I don’t know how much that’s going to change. I do give him the benefit of the doubt because under Jurgen Klopp, many needed time to come good.
“So I’m still sort of in his corner. But part of me believes that he’s never going to become this consistent, ruthless goalscorer that a team like Liverpool needs. So I’m disappointed.”
No player in the entire division averages more shots on target per 90 minutes than Nunez this season. So his return of five goals is clearly not good enough.
The coming weeks could perhaps provide a much better idea of whether he can prove Michallik wrong.
Liverpool, of course, are now set to be without Mohamed Salah over the coming weeks as he joins his country for international duty.
Salah has been exceptional this season. And he leads the Liverpool scoring charts by some distance. So the likes of Nunez, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo need to improve.
Given that Nunez cost Liverpool £85 million and is the central striker, the greatest burden is arguably now on his shoulders.