Gary Neville has issued a warning to Darwin Nunez after telling him that in order to succeed at Anfield, he will need to change his game
The Reds paid an initial fee of £64.1 million for Nunez over the summer, with the fee due to climb to £85 million if bonuses are reached. And, after scoring nine goals in 20 games for Liverpool, the judgment is still out on whether the move was wise.
Indeed, Nunez has squandered more great chances than any other player in the Premier League this season. And his score should surely be higher as he missed two more wonderful opportunities in Friday’s 2-1 triumph over Leicester.
Gabriel Jesus, on the other hand, has only scored five goals since joining Arsenal. However, he has contributed to five other goals and has more goal contributions per minute played than Nunez.
Indeed, the Brazilian is regarded as a major contributor to Arsenal’s ascension to the top of the Premier League. Nunez, on the other hand, has been warned by Neville that he must alter his style and that he cannot be what Jesus is for Arsenal.
“I think there’s a boundary between being a handful, which he is, and being world-class,” he told Sky Sports. Salah and Jesus were the players on the list at the bottom who missed chances.
“Jesus, at £40m, will always be a player who is unpredictable in his goalscoring, but I admire him as a player. Salah has been destructive for five years, and he must determine if he is a Jesus-type or a Salah-type.”
Darwin Nunez has also been chastised by Jamie Carragher.
“He can’t be a Jesus-type player for £90m. He must be a goal scorer, and that will be the major question for the next 12 to 18 months. Jurgen Klopp is known for getting the most out of his strikers, so I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Nunez’s biggest miss came after 78 minutes, when he collected a Naby Keita pass in stride but shot over the bar with the goal at his feet.
Jamie Carragher, who co-commented for Sky Sports, was equally scathing of the Uruguayan’s finishing.
“He’s got to be saving more of these opportunities,” he remarked.
“On another night he could have had a hat-trick? We shouted it against Manchester City. That was shouted against Aston Villa.
“In this team, he’ll always get a lot of chances.”
Meanwhile, Paul Robinson of BBC Radio 5 Live says Nunez’s link-up play with Mohamed Salah is looking better than ever.
“Nunez couldn’t find the target tonight, but his interaction with Mo Salah looked better than I’ve seen before,” he stated at 22:22 on December 30.
“He inserted Salah a couple of times. His confidence, hold-up play, and runs in behind suggest he’ll be a top-class signing for them. “I honestly believe he’s one or two goals away from truly kicking off.”