Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez scored on his Premier League debut after joining from Benfica, but has not found the net since that goal against Fulham in August.
Darwin Nunez has not got off to the best of starts in Liverpool colours, but there are no signs of Jurgen Klopp losing his patience with the summer signing.
Indeed, not long after the Uruguay star joined from Benfica in what could become a club record move, the Reds boss suggested his new man would need time. Nunez scored in the Community Shield, and netted again on his Premier League debut against Fulham, but his only goal in the last two months came for his country.
The scoring form of new Manchester City signing Erling Haaland has seen Nunez compared unfavourably to the Norwegian, with the players’ closeness in age and with both arriving in the Premier League this summer possibly playing a part. However, Klopp has already suggested the summer arrival will need time.
After joining in a move which could eventually be worth a club-record £85m, Nunez came under plenty of scrutiny during pre-season. His touches were closely analysed and judgements were made before he had even made his competitive debut.
Klopp himself addressed the trend after the Community Shield, where the 23-year-old came off the bench to score and win a penalty as Liverpool beat Manchester City. Even then, though, he was calling for people to give the new man time.
“We live in a world where everybody gets judged on first sight and that’s not helpful for nobody, but it happens constantly,” Klopp said after the curtain-raiser. “We were today – both teams – not at 100 per cent of their physical, usual situation, if you want.
“But in the first few games [of pre-season] we were not even close to the fitness level of today,” the manager continued. “Then when he came on, we passed each ball for him to chase it and after the third ball he was completely killed and then everybody judged his first touches and these kind of things.
“It’s just a joke, but we have to live with that, he will deal with it brilliantly, we are patient, and we know he can do good stuff. I liked his impact today.
“We all know they are a special species, strikers. The other thing everybody needs [are] little positives. That means goals, or goal involvements.”
Despite that impressive early cameo, Nunez wasn’t rushed into action. He started on the bench for the Premier League opener against Fulham, and came into the first XI for the home opener against Crystal Palace in part because Klopp had no other options.
The striker was sent off against the Eagles, though, with the offence keeping him out of the next three league games. Klopp has himself admitted the dismissal – for a headbutt on Palace defender Joachim Andersen – hasn’t helped.
Liverpool’s manager addressed the situation before Liverpool’s midweek victory over Rangers. It appears things have not changed, with the boss continuing to urge patience.
“New players come in and we want them to shine immediately and that happens from time to time,” he said. “We are completely calm. It’s really important in our situation that he isn’t worrying.
“The three-game suspension didn’t help him, that’s clear. The team isn’t flying and that doesn’t help a striker.”