Dr Nunez / Mr Darwin: Right Version Needed

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Darwin Nunez: Liverpool’s Divisive Striker

Intensity of Sunday’s Drama

For those of us who are still coming down from the intensity and insanity of Sunday’s late drama against Fulham, the talking points revolved around all areas of the team. However, it’s impossible to debate that no player draws scrutiny either nationally or amongst the fanbase right now as Darwin Nunez. Assuming the mantle held by Naby Keita since his departure, no player seems to split the debate either way so strongly that rational debate seems somewhat scarce. The reality of the situation at the moment is that no party is totally in the wrong and the needle hasn’t moved decisively either way right now. Time won’t wait forever on this judgment though.

Nunez’s Scrutiny and Debate

New braids aside, the focus on the Uruguayan after Sunday’s victory was understandable. For all the fan adoration and chants, two misses in this contest were especially poor. When Liverpool broke and the 23-year-old was played in by Salah for a first-time strike, anything other than an attempt to take the leather off the ball would surely have ended up in a goal. Nunez is now six games without a goal for the club and it’s started to feel like the wasteful player from last season has started to reappear. There’s more to the former Benfica forward’s game than simply goals, but a distinct lack of composure has punctuated this period.

Time Ticking on Judgement

That doesn’t mean there’s not been distinct progress this season and displays of real quality. Just ask Newcastle if you’re unsure. That one aside, a clear link up and records being challenged with Mo Salah have been evident and the assist against Brentford was exceptional. So too has been the pressing, defensive work and overall contribution at times. Incredible strikes against Bournemouth in the Carabao and West Ham at home have meant there’s been little clamour for Cody Gakpo to be reinstated into leading the line until now. Even his involvement in the two late goals on Sunday have been pointed towards as a demonstration of his growing influence.

Nunez’s Impact: Liverpool’s Current Dilemma

Whether Bielsa and Klopp are working together or not for his development is uncertain, but what is known is that Liverpool need to see the international version more often than that. Whilst there have been clear and evident steps forwards this season, the other day did feel like the older version that many had hoped we’d moved on from.

Premier League Liverpool v Fulham Darwin Nunez 9 of Liverpool applauds the home fans after the Premier League match Liverpool vs Fulham at Anfield, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 3rd December 2023 Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images Liverpool Anfield Merseyside United Kingdom Copyright: xMarkxCosgrove/NewsxImagesx

Whether the former Almeria man will live up to the passion that the chanting of his name brings at Anfield is uncertain, but as our guide alluded to the other day, judgment can’t stay undelivered forever. This period coming up feels crucial to either argument. Let’s hope it delivers the version we all want.

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