Liverpool supporters the world over are likely doing their well best to exercise the restraint required at this time of the year after new boy Darwin Nunez dazzled in the Reds’ friendly 5-0 win over RB Leipzig.
“It’s only preseason,” had been the response each time rival fans crowed at every errant touch Liverpool’s record signing made in his first few outings. Even the boss was somehow forced to address criticism of his new forward.
After two games! Of preseason!
However, the Anfield faithful will be forgiven for jumping to conclusions with this third warm up match after their new no. 27 tormented the Leipzig defenders in a blistering second half performance.
Coming on at half-time with his side 1-0 up through a first half Mohamed Salah goal, the striker stepped up after Luis Diaz was felled in the box to power an early penalty through the hands of the goalkeeper to double the lead.
His teammates then found the big attacker to also be a willing runner, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho each providing the sharp-shooting Nunez a chance show off his wide array of finishes.
“Mo gives Darwin the penalty and the box of Pandora was opened,” manager Jurgen Klopp speaking to the club website said of Nunez’s performance. “That’s of course a perfect night for him.”
The Uruguayan employed the relentless application of pace and power that wowed his current teammates when he lined up against them with Benfica last season. While noticeably fitter than in his first two appearances, Klopp also put the performance down to the 22-year-old overcoming the nerves and pressure that comes with being a young, big money signing.
“We always think that if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure or whatever,” Klopp continued.
“They are all completely normal human beings and the first touch is not perfect then all of a sudden.
“This generation of players read social media, which is really not smart, but they do. All of a sudden you get in a rush and these kinds of things.
“That’s the best way, obviously, to stop all these discussions. He’s a different striker to what we have or what we had, but he’s a really good one.”
Patience will of course be required with Nunez still raw and learning his craft. But also at this pace, Nunez is probably scoring 100 goals this season.