If Liverpool had been at their best to start the 2022-23 season, then new striker signing Darwin Nuñez would have had more time to settle, to make the adjustment to a more demanding system in a more demanding league. Liverpool, it’s fair to say, did not start the season well.
That led to increased pressure for Darwin to deliver quickly, and the end result of that was a violent conduct red and plenty of chances to see a player who often isn’t quite on to the same page as his new teammates. In recent games, though, it’s stared to look like he’s getting there.
“I think he has so much potential,” teammate Virgil van Dijk noted. “He’s still young, still learning. He’s learning the way we play, learning English. He’s a modern-day striker that causes defenders a lot of problems. You can see his runs in behind and his build-up play is getting better.”
Against West Ham on Wednesday he was dominant and could easily have scored a hat-trick. Last weekend against City, while the end product remained missing it was obvious the 23-year-old Uruguayan was at times causing Pep Guardiola’s title favourites serious defensive discomfort.
Willing to run and defend from the front and with truly elite chance generation numbers, it’s clear there’s world class potential in Darwin even if fitness and link-up play remains a work in progress, and he’ll get another chance to show he’s getting closer against Nottingham on Saturday.
“We have to just focus on the next game, we know how it works,” Van Dijk added of the need to quickly move on to Nottingham. “Everything can change after every game. We want to improve and I think we showed that in the last three games, so hopefully we can keep it going.”