Fri, 07 Oct 22 13:57:43 +0000
Jurgen Klopp has said he is “optimistic” about what Darwin Nunez is going to bring to Liverpool in the future.
Nunez, who joined from Benfica in a deal worth up to £85million in the summer, hasn’t started a Premier League game for Liverpool since mid-August when he was sent off for a headbutt on Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen.
The big Uruguayan striker did start Tuesday’s Champions League win over Rangers though and was partnered by Diogo Jota as Jurgen Klopp adjusted his team’s approach from their usual 4-3-3 into a variation of a 4-2-3-1/4-4-2.
Such an approach is not new under Klopp and was utilised for a period during the 2018/19 campaign in order to cater for an in-form Xherdan Shaqiri, however this time around adding greater defensive resilience while also providing extra support to Nunez in attack was the key motivation for the switch.
Although he didn’t get on the scoresheet in that game, Nunez and Jota combined well to form a dangerous duo and on another night, without Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor in inspired form, the 23-year-old could have grabbed a goal to show for his efforts.
“It was his movement and the boys around him,” said Klopp when discussing Nunez and the formation change in Friday morning’s press conference ahead of this weekend’s trip to Arsenal. “One thing he showed so far in all games, he gets himself into good finishing position. It's why we should be optimistic about what's coming from him in the future.”
Despite it being a slow start to his career at Anfield, working himself into good areas to get shots off on goal has definitely been a trait of Nunez’s time at the club so far. In Tuesday’s game, he managed six shots, four of which hit the target.
Meanwhile, according to Wyscout he’s averaged 6.2 shots and 8.3 touches in the penalty area per 90 so far. That’s high. For comparison, although he’s played more minutes, Erling Haaland is averaging 4.4 shots and 8.2 touches in the penalty box this season.
While Nunez’s average, particularly in terms of shots, is sure to come down the more minutes he plays, it’s still sure to be among the highest across the Premier League and it should only be a matter of time before the goals start to flood in as result.
Despite the success of the formation on Tuesday night, Klopp hasn’t ruled out further changes ahead of this weekend’s big clash at the Emirates, stating his team must maintain a level of unpredictability about them.
"For us it's more important we become unpredictable again so we need different systems for that as well," he said.
"4-4-2...we can name different systems. We have to choose which one is the best for us against next opponent. We have to be more unpredictable.”
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