Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ‘excited’ at potential of £85m striker Darwin Nunez

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Jurgen Klopp defends Darwin Nunez’s slow start to life at Liverpool after his £85m summer move… before hailing the striker’s turnaround that’s seen him score in his last four starts for the Reds

  • Darwin Nunez scored his sixth goal for Liverpool in midweek win over Ajax
  • Uruguayan made a blistering start but was then sent off for a headbutt
  • But Nunez returned and has started to score and provide goals at a steady rate
  • He was missed as Liverpool went down to Nottingham Forest last weekend
  • But he will be involved when the Reds host Leeds at Anfield on Saturday night 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is ‘excited’ at the potential of £85million Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez as he settles into English football.

Nunez scored his sixth goal for the club in Wednesday night’s 3-0 Champions League win away to Ajax, having also scored the winner against West Ham in his last Premier League outing.

Doubts were raised over his temperament after he was sent off for head-butting Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen in just his third game for Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp has been impressed by the start Darwin Nunez has made for Liverpool and believes the ‘incredible’ striker has immense potential

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The £85m Uruguayan striker scored his sixth goal since arriving at Anfield in the win over Ajax

The £85m Uruguayan striker scored his sixth goal since arriving at Anfield in the win over Ajax

But Klopp says that after that ’embarrassment’ Nunez has everything required to become a player of immense importance to Liverpool.

‘The problem is not that the boys need extra long to settle or whatever but they are different situations for the players,’ Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s Saturday night game with Leeds.

‘Darwin came here after a short break in the summer, arriving in Asia not speaking a word [of English], and being young, and Liverpool is a big club and it’s a big step for him and he was expensive. All these kind of things.

‘Then all of a sudden, he played his first game and everyone is looking at you. It’s like the whole place is dark and there is only one light and it is a spot on you. You have to deal with that, the unexpected, immediately.

‘You try and get fit with new things in training, with different demands, all this kind of things.

Klopp spoke at length on Nunez and his potential during his press conference on Friday

Klopp spoke at length on Nunez and his potential during his press conference on Friday

‘Then you start well against City [in the Community Shield], you come on and score an important goal, then you score in the next game at Fulham.

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‘Then you have a red card, you feel embarrassment. Everyone would react like this. So from not being 100 per cent confident, getting a knock like this is not cool. You can’t blame anybody else for it, so you have to start anew.

‘For all these things, his numbers are incredible. I am pretty sure his xGs are high. He had a few chances that he missed but he has scored as well and he is involved in a lot of finishing moments, a lot of things.

‘The steps he is making are really big and that means, automatically, that he settled in more and more. He had a great month.’

Nunez was sent off for a headbutt on Joachim Andersen during his third game for Liverpool

Nunez was sent off for a headbutt on Joachim Andersen during his third game for Liverpool

Asked how good Nunez could become, Klopp added: ‘Nobody knows, he doesn’t know. There is a lot that is so exciting but he has to stay fit, to be available all the time and he wasn’t against Nottingham [Forest].

‘That is all-important in the life of a professional football player, so we have to work on all different areas but the potential is incredible.

‘The attitude is really good, he is a real worker and I know there are some people out there not sure about him technically, his first touch, but it’s incredible.

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‘His first might be here or there sometimes but it’s nothing to do with technique. It’s him being a bit too late, awareness, orientation but that’s all possible to develop or learn.

‘It’s really exciting but where it could go, I have no idea.’

Nunez has returned to scoring form, netting against West Ham and then Ajax (pictured)

Nunez has returned to scoring form, netting against West Ham and then Ajax (pictured)

Liverpool are looking to bounce back against Jesse Marsch’s struggling Leeds side after they were beaten 1-0 at Forest last weekend, leaving them down in eighth in the table.

Klopp escaped a touchline ban for his rage at the officials that saw him sent off in the closing moments of Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Manchester City – but he was fined £30,000 by the FA.

He said: ‘I know what I said and with a different face it would have been completely fine. It’s the most expensive face! 

‘A lot of money but I heard it will be invested in something good which is fine.

‘Should I have got a ban? I don’t know. I’m not happy or relieved or whatever. I was waiting for the punishment, take it and then go from there.’

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been fined £30,000 after being sent off against Man City

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been fined £30,000 after being sent off against Man City

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