A poor start to season always finds people - fans, media, etc - trying to find the source of the problem. Why has the team been unable to capitalize on their skills, knowledge, and talent?
It’s no secret that the easiest targets will always be the biggest money signing of the summer.
Unfortunately, that means the target is Darwin Núñez.
After signing over the summer for a record breaking sum, poor Núñez was hailed as the answer to our Sadio Mane-less prayers. All of that usually comes with a big spending. There is immediate pressure to perform, to prove why you as a player cost that much to a club that - to be honest - is swimming in cash and a price tag like that is a drop in the bucket.
He had an impressive pre-season, scoring in the Community Shield and the friendlies before that. And then, of course, the real season started.
The media, and some fans, have pounced on the fact that Núñez has been unable to perform to the expectations that he’s been saddled with. He has “only” scored two goals in seven appearances - with those appearances hampered by the fact that he received a three match ban just as the season started from a red card against Crystal Palace.
Following Tuesday’s match against Rangers, the Mirror posted a video detailing the striker’s frustrations with his efforts. A former Everton player (eyeroll) has said his “struggles” are part and parcel of joining a large club like Liverpool. Núñez himself saying that it is difficult to adapt because of language barriers.
But is all of this really a problem? Is it worth the big deal that the world seems to be making of it?
Not really. It’s just another example of the sporting world trying to find a scapegoat for Liverpool’s issues, without really analyzing the problems at hand. An aging midfield that happens to get injured a lot, a mentally exhausted full squad in a sport that gets more intense each year. The lack of patience in and around a changing team.
Liverpool are hardly three months into a new Premier League campaign that has already seen incredible upheavals. Almost a month of that was disrupted by international breaks and “lack of available policing” due to a monarch dying. By the way, Darwin scored during that break, too.
The looming World Cup in November and December is certainly throwing things off, shrinking the sporting world’s already shortened patience, and that’s sort of understandable. Players themselves want to get the most out of their seasons before they travel to one of the biggest competitions in the world. Fans want to see their teams in the best possible positions before they stop playing for another month and a half.
Sure, Liverpool aren’t in the best of positions, but pinning Darwin Núñez as the source of all the problems? That isn’t the way to go. Nor is he the savior of the season when we’re barely into October.
Things suck when we’re not winning. That’s just a fact. One of the unfortunate tradeoffs of being a sports fan. We all need to cut each other a little slack, though - especially the team, and Darwin Núñez. Things will eventually click. Darwin himself said that “The goal will come. It’s like ketchup, when it comes out a little, it all comes out.”
Just keep shaking the bottle.