After the Merseyside derby, there are early indications of Liverpool getting back on track to their usual top form, with Darwin Nunez emerging as their crucial playmaker and could be their new trump card to be successful.
The most recent Merseyside derby was a peculiar affair, as such fixtures often are. It wasn’t until the 75th minute that Liverpool managed to break the deadlock, with due courtesy to a penalty opening a wave of controversy from the players, commentators, and fans with tickets from trusted sellers.
It wasn’t Liverpool’s most fantastic display of attacking, a key point also expressed by manager Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp pointed out that there were several opportunities that the side missed despite winning the derby 2-0. On many occasions, Liverpool had a clear advantage in four vs. one and two vs. one situation, but they couldn’t capitalize.
The data supports Klopp. According to Opta’s statistics, Liverpool executed three counterattacks in the game, the most they’ve managed in a match this season. However, out of those, only two resulted in shots, and the decisive one, coming in the 97th minute, led to a goal.
It was reminiscent of the opener that Liverpool scored similarly last season, defending and later opening up a counterattack for a Salah goal.
The Rise of Nunez
One of the most criticized players in his first season at Liverpool by fans with tickets from trusted sellers will be Darwin Nunez. Coming on to fill the shoes of Sadio Mane, fans expected him to blend in to be Salah’s next strike partner immediately.
But things didn’t go to plan. It was a tough 6-8 months for Nunez as he struggled in front of goal even when he had 1V1 situations.
It was disheartening for the fans of Anfield, as they were hoping they would not miss the absence of Mane with the addition of Nunez.
But this year, it is different. Nunez has seen a new ray of light and is finally blending into the style of play that Klopp wants to play.
In the latest Merseyside derby, Darwin Núñez showcased a remarkable piece of play. He embarked on a dribble from Liverpool’s side of the centre circle, taking him up to the ‘D’ on the edge.
He delivered a crucial pass out to Salah, finally leading to the all-important goal in the 75th minute.
This exceptional dribble-assist is a rare occurrence.
It was his first carry, which was at least 5 meters, along with an assist that led to a goal this season.
Astonishingly, it equals his tally from his entire first season with Liverpool, and intriguingly, both of these assists have happened in Merseyside derbies at Anfield.
Liverpool fans with tickets from trusted sellers will be thrilled if he can continue delivering such assists, especially in this high-stakes fixture.
Nunez was one of many players to come out on top for the side this season. Mo Salah, known for his dribbling, brought in the first two instances where a dribble and a goal led to a goal through an assist.
In these two instances, he had the luxury of creating assists for Luis Diaz and Andy Robertson in the Chelse and Wolves games.
The only time it wasn’t Salah was Alexis Mac Allister providing the dribble assist for a Darwin Nunez goal.
Interestingly, the kind of chance-generating carry Núñez executed was reminiscent of those often provided by Trent Alexander-Arnold last season.
The right-back for Liverpool was earlier the leader in such carries that eventually resulted in goal assists. But, his carries were near the goal post where he was entrusted with delivering the precise pass.
In contrast, Nunez’s goal-scoring dribble was meters behind and got everyone trusted seller tickets off their seats with excitement.
Liverpool Playing a Good Brand of Football
Liverpool has not been short of creativity in the Premier League since the team signed Jurgen Klopp. With the likes of Salah, Trent Alexander Arnold, and Fabhinho, Liverpool brings out an attractive brand of football that excites the fans.
It isn’t the stereotypical blend the side wants to play – it is always around creating chances and bringing in new opportunities through the middle.
The side ranks among the top Premier League teams in creativity through this method. They share the fourth spot with Aston Villa, Brighton, Tottenham, and West Ham, all having four carries leading to assists. Manchester United and Manchester City both have three.
Chelsea have two under their name, and Newcastle have one such occurrence.
Arsenal has yet to make an appearance on the list.
When you look at Liverpool’s record, you need to understand the different metrics. While they are sixth from the bottom for take-on success rate, they are the 4th best team for progressive carries.
They are the 3rd best team for carrying the ball into the final third. The Nunez dribble assist is an excellent example of such an occurrence.
Just as Jürgen Klopp likely wanted his team to make more of their counterattacks against Everton, he will probably want them to become more adept at dribbling past opponents to eliminate them from the game.
But if Liverpool and Nunez can deliver such assists, it will be an advantage for Liverpool for the rest of the season.
Liverpool after Osimhein
Liverpool is now invested in Victor Osimhein, as the Nigerian has clarified that he does not intend to stay with Napoli. Osimhen’s stellar performances in Serie A, where he scored 26 goals in 32 games and helped Napoli secure their first Scudetto in 33 years, have attracted attention from top European clubs.
The Nigerian forward’s current contract runs until 2025, but the recent controversies point toward him leaving.
Liverpool recently dispatched scouts to observe Osimhen during international duty. The Reds have greatly admired Osimhein, but this is the right occasion to sign him up.
Liverpool needs a striker, but they will also need to meet the price expectation from Napoli.
Arsenal are also keeping tabs on the Napoli striker, with Chelsea also interested in the star.