Jurgen Klopp claims Darwin Nunez would have ‘definitely’ scored 20 goals if Liverpool had been at their best this season… as he admits the £85m forward next year needs time to adapt and settle
- Darwin Nunez has scored just 15 goals in all competitions in his debut season
- The Uruguayan has been guilty of missing several gilt-edged opportunities
- Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted Nunez needed time to adapt to the club
Jurgen Klopp has claimed striker Darwin Nunez would ‘definitely’ have scored 20 goals this season had Liverpool been their normal selves.
The jury is still out on £85million Nunez, who has netted just once in 11 games and spurned chances, though he has also scored this season against Manchester City, Arsenal, Newcastle, Napoli and Real Madrid.
Klopp expects more from the 23-year-old Uruguayan next term but said: ‘He needed time to settle. The most difficult thing for a striker is to come in to a team that is not clicking.
‘For him to have scored 15 goals anyway, imagine if by our standards a good season with 70 or 80 points, he would have scored 20-odd goals definitely.
‘Mo Salah at his best season — 40-odd goals — missed chances. That’s normal. Erling Haaland missed chances. That’s how it is but they had much more that we created in this period. But 15 goals is still absolutely fine and three games to go so possibly increase that number as well.
Jurgen Klopp claimed Darwin Nunez would ‘definitely’ have scored 20 goals this season had Liverpool been their normal selves
Nunez has been guilty of being wasteful in front of goal, netting just nine Premier League goals
‘We spoke about it. He needs time to adapt. He had that at Benfica as well, but there wasn’t the language issue, or less a language issue than there was here.
‘It’s clear that we will try to help him and he can help us even more than he has done already.’
Fifth-placed Liverpool, who face Leicester tomorrow, are 20 points behind leaders Manchester City, but Klopp does not want to be obsessed by Pep Guardiola’s team in terms of next season.
‘It is not about that, there are two games a season, or maybe with cup competitions three four five games where you play Man City or Arsenal,’ he said.
‘A successful season is that you are ready for all the games that you can win 20-odd, maybe 25 games.
‘If City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham, Man Utd are all involved in that 25 then it’s even better.
‘But can we create a team that can win the majority of the games? Yes we can. It’s not about what the others do, it never was.’ Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated the Premier League landscape in recent seasons, being the only two clubs to win the title since 2017. Indeed, such has been the rivalry that City have twice pipped Liverpool for the title by a single point with both clubs amassing 90-odd points in the process.
The arrival of Arsenal and to a lesser extent Newcastle United and Manchester United, has hinted at an end to the two-team domination.
The German added: ‘So, getting 90-odd points is absolutely insane, it’s pretty special and no one should take these kind of things for granted and I think the top five, six, seven will get even closer together.
Klopp admitted Nunez needed time to adapt and has full faith in the Uruguayan to come good
It has been a tough year on the pitch for the Reds, but they are ending the season in fine form
‘It will get more difficult and more competitive which it already is this year.
‘It doesn’t make it easier but it gives everyone with a good idea a chance to be part of it and that’s all that you go for actually because if you are part of that battle up there then you can win it as well, that’s how it is.’
It is no coincidence that Liverpool’s recent upturn in fortunes has seen top scorer Salah’s return to form with eight goals in his last eight games, something Nunez would love to emulate.
Liverpool made an initial £64m for the pacy forward with the fee having the potential to reach £85m with add-ons.