Darwin Nuñez was Liverpool’s agent of chaos on Sunday against Tottenham, rampaging down the left of an attacking trident with Mohamed Salah to the right and Roberto Firmino through the middle.
Moments of brilliants and physical dominance were interspersed with the odd touch that raised eyebrows, but as has often been the case this season his promise remains clear—as does his overwhelmingly positive impact on Liverpool’s overall play.
Still, manager Jürgen Klopp sees room for improvement for the big Uruguayan striker. Particularly if he’s going to take on the wider roles in the 4-3-3 and not just be paired centrally in a 4-4-2 diamond.
“You have to defend half-spaces, you have to defend the wings,” Klopp noted of the added responsibilities Nuñez had to carry on Sunday against Tottenham. “That was obviously a bit of the problem.
“Darwin, offensively, he’s a massive threat in that position. Defensively there’s still space for improvement. On top of that, it’s super-intense for him to [have to track back on the wing] all the time and these kinds of things.”
With the ball, Nuñez often looked to be playing his own game, his physicality even more of an advantage pulled away from the centre halves and Spurs’ defenders at times seeming prop observers, entirely unable to keep up with him.
His defensive game there may not be perfect, but he will improve and that positional flexibility will make the striker even more of a threat and more of a useful option for Klopp moving forward for the Reds.