The first half of Darwin Núñez’s debut season with Liverpool has been challenging for the Uruguayan. He’s dealt with the intense scrutiny that always comes with a move to a club like Liverpool, and it has not always been smooth sailing. His potential has been evident all along, but there were certainly some growing pains, which is to be expected.
While Núñez came in and immediately created tons of opportunities for he and his teammates, there were some questions about his finishing, his passing, and his decision-making at times. Some of the more toxic pundits and supporters seemed ready to write him off after just a couple of months, but he has started to shut them up in recent weeks.
His performances have continued to improve with each passing match. He’s scoring at a pretty strong clip, his passing and decision-making are looking much stronger, and he is building chemistry with his teammates, most notably with Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson.
Liverpool vice-captain James Milner was full of praise for the 23-year-old striker after yet another impressive display with a brace against Southampton yesterday, and he is especially pleased with the combination play between Núñez and Robertson.
“They’re getting that understanding and it’s great that Darwin is banging those goals in,” Milner said in an interview with the Liverpool FC website after the match. “He has settled in pretty quick, to be fair. He’s still learning the language but he’s getting it, he has got a great sense of humour, and obviously, we’ll see more of that I’m sure once his English comes out more.
“He has got everything so it’s pleasing for him to get the goals. And Robbo, we know how much he loves an assist as well so it’s important that he keeps getting those.”
As for what makes him so special, Milner was quick to rattle off a list of qualities that are helping the Uruguayan round into form at Anfield.
“Just watching him in training and his attributes, his willingness to work for the team, he is obviously great in the air, a big presence, great strike with both feet, he hits it early, wants to score goals. He is a different type of striker to the other guys up there and that’s obviously great for us as a squad to have these players who all have different attributes.”
Núñez clearly has all the tools to become a goal-scoring machine for Liverpool, and it’s going to be very fun watching him continue to polish his game and bang in goals when Premier League action resumes after the World Cup.