After the 0-0 stalemate against Manchester United, much attention has been paid to the struggles of the front line, particularly Darwin Nunez, who has gone ten games without finding the net.
Ahead of Liverpool FC’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against West Ham United, Assistant Manager Pepijn Lijnders used the presser to heap praise on Darwin’s progress and his contributions to the Liverpool attack this season:
“Darwin is full of desire, you see this in each game.”
“And if you would only judge players on the goals, that would be so unfair, because in our way always when we reach our targets it was always about the collective.”
“When Mo wasn’t playing well, it was Sadio; when Bobby was maybe not playing well, Mo was the one who was decisive. These things happen.”
“I feel that there’s a good connection between Mo and Darwin, for example. They see each other, assist each other.”
“I feel that Darwin is playing a much better season than last year, the way he defends for the team, the way he controls the centre and puts pressure on, the way he goes, the way he chases back, his counter-press as well.”
“He helps a lot when we are deep and he can play as a reference, he does that much better. Take the goal from Wataru [against Fulham], we play long and he sets and Mo then assists.”
“It is a long time that we played with a false nine, now we have Darwin who is always in the last line – maybe too high, offside sometimes! But he’s learning.”
“I like him a lot and we have the discussion often that this guy is full of fire, and that’s what our stadium likes and that’s what we need as well, to lead the line in this way.”
“He can only become better, it’s a good thing.”
“As always with goals, if you create a lot, the goals will come naturally, and that’s a compliment to our team as well because we are creating, creating.”
“Sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky.”
When he was asked what the coaching team are doing to help Darwin refine his game, Lijnders replied:
“We sit together, we do individual meetings, we show images, we have a really good relationship.
“He feels our trust and that’s the thing that we can give him. If you are not creating it would be much worse, but we are creating.”
All in all, great answer by Pep. There is no need to worry. The goals will come as long as the team trusts the process collectively.