Jurgen Klopp praised Darwin Nunez this week ahead of Liverpool’s second-leg Champions League clash with Benfica and it is easy to see why.
Ahead of Wednesday night’s big second-leg Champions League quarter-final clash between Liverpool and Benfica, Jurgen Klopp spoke glowingly of exciting forward Darwin Nunez. The 22-year-old scored Benfica’s only goal of the game in last week’s 3-1 victory for Liverpool, and then followed it up with a hat-trick on Saturday against Belenenses.
He’ll again be the Portuguese side’s dangerman on Wednesday, and Klopp expects him to have a bright future. “An extremely good looking boy, eh? He is a really good boy. He played in front of me battling against [Ibrahima] Konate. He was calm for the finish. He is good, really good. If he stays healthy, he has a big career ahead of him”.
Nunez’s three goals on Saturday took his tally for the season to 28, he’s also registered a further three assists, and in terms of an attacking profile, it’s easy to see why Klopp is such a fan.
The Uruguayan most often lines up in a front two within a 4-4-2 formation, though under manager Nelson Verissimo, Benfica tend to be fluid with their structure, utilising other formations such as 3-4-3 or 4-2-3-1 like they did against Liverpool last week. Nunez is able to adapt and thrive within all which is a testament to his impressive versatility.
Although arguably at his best as an out and out forward, Nunez can be just as dangerous operating on the left of his side’s attack. He thrives there because it allows him to utilise his blistering pace to run at and bypass defenders before cutting inside onto his favoured right foot to unleash efforts at goal.
From a Liverpool perspective, Nunez has two things that appeal to them in any potential forward – ability and versatility. Furthermore, the attacker is still at an age where you can be confident that he’s got the potential to improve even further.
It therefore wouldn’t be a surprise to see him one day land on Liverpool’s transfer radar, especially on the back of Klopp’s praise. Has the boss given the game away over potential future interest? Nunez has been repeatedly linked to a number of Premier League sides recently, including the Reds.
For now at least though, a move to Anfield looks unlikely. Liverpool are well stocked in attack and competition for Nunez’s signature in the summer is said to be fierce. Therefore they’ll likely just be focusing on keeping him quiet on Wednesday night – and hopefully securing safe passage into the Champions League semi-finals.