sport news Jurgen Klopp says he is 'afraid' of the heights Darwin Nunez can reach if he ... trends now
Jurgen Klopp says he is afraid of the heights Darwin Nunez could reach if the Uruguayan striker continues his goal-scoring form - and it feels like the rest of the Premier League should be, too, with the striker fast unlocking his true potential at Liverpool.
Many pundits were quick to write off Nunez after a tricky first year on Merseyside but those critics have since been silenced. His first season at the club was not terrible but it was perhaps fair to say he did not fully live up to the huge billing after his £85million move from Benfica.
He was not helped by the phenomenal goal-scoring rate of Erling Haaland at Manchester City after the pair were pitted together as a showdown of strikers by broadcasters as the Premier League's main protagonists ahead of last season.
Nunez was also blighted by how long it took him to settle into his life in new surroundings.
He arrived with limited English language skills and that held him back somewhat, while Klopp thought his off-the-ball work needed to improve to cement a place in the starting XI.
Jurgen Klopp says he is afraid of the heights Darwin Nunez could reach having found his feet
Nunez had a mixed first season at Liverpool as he struggled to live up to his £85m price tag
Nunez has now begun to prove the doubters wrong and he has scored seven goals this season
On his home debut at Anfield, he was sent off for a headbutt on Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen and subsequently banned for three matches. That moment summed up a frustrating, injury-hit and sub-par introductory year on the pitch for Nunez in England.
But all of that is behind him now. Instead of the noise of critics, Nunez is now letting his numbers do the talking. Seven goals and five assists for Liverpool - that's 0.93 goals per game, up from 0.57 last term.
Only Callum Wilson has a higher non-penalty xG (expected goals) in the Premier League this season, putting Nunez above heavyweight Haaland and Co. He is averaging 10 touches in the opposition box - up from 8.22 last season - and taking on a league-high 4.9 shots per game.
Klopp said Nunez's 'golden ticket' to the first team would be his work-rate off the ball and his contribution to defensive dirty work. Those stats also look good for Nunez. He's averaging 1.33 tackles per game - it was 0.61 last term - and his possession won numbers are also on the up.
On Friday, the German said he was 'afraid' of the heights the Uruguayan can hit in English football if he unlocks