Liverpool FC manager has hailed the impact of his forwards, as Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo came on and changed the game against Fulham in their 2-1 win in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Nunez was particularly influential, as the Uruguay international assisted Curtis Jones’ deflected equaliser in the 56th minute and then delivered the cross for fellow substitute Cody Gakpo to slot home for the winner.
Darwin will no doubt get stick from the wider public over scoring just once in his last 16 matches. He was especially unlucky last night, having had three chances denied by spectacular goalkeeping from Bernd Leno, including a point-blank strike, which would have virtually put the game away for good and given Liverpool a commanding two-goal lead into the second leg. Klopp made sure to highlight Nunez’s contributions despite not scoring:
“He plays outstanding, I have to say it. There are so many things I love about his game.”
“The first year was a year to adapt, and he scored here and there, but now he contributes in all games.”
“The boys don’t start because they score or not score. My belief and trust in them, as long as they behave properly, is endless. They deserve it because of the effort they put in.”
“I don’t know how to explain the Darwin situation. I’m so happy about Darwin’s reaction and how he takes it, but you cannot be more unlucky in these finishing situations, that’s not possible.”
“He does absolutely everything right, yet ball not in. And then he still sets up the other goal. I think that is really special to do that again.”
That fighting spirit to keep going until the game ends has been on display all year from this team, especially Nunez. Liverpool are on the verge of another cup final. The vibes are good. Time for a short break, and then the grind of the football calendar continues.