An £80M price tag brings massive expectations with it in the football world, but while it’s far too early to say just how successful new striker signing Darwin Nuñez is going to be for Liverpool, the early signs are promising.
Coming off the bench in the Community Shield and Premier League opener, Nuñez has two goals, an assist, and a won penalty to show for his first 70 minutes as a Red, and assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders is excited by the different look he believes the striker can bring to one of football’s best sides.
“He’s a centre-forward that likes to drift, not a fixed number nine,” Lijnders noted. “That was something we think can be good to open up spaces for others as well, which is something we think we can improve.”
Nuñez at centre forward won’t look the same as Roberto Fimino or Diogo Jota or Sadio Mané, but the imposing Uruguayan is no static target and has shown a willingness to try to bring his teammates into the game—even if there are moments where the fluidity with his new teammates isn’t quite there yet.
Lijnders, though, is quick to remind everyone that a learning curve is natural. That there will be moments, especially early in his Liverpool career, where things won’t quite come off. And that it’s important to take those setbacks in stride.
“The most important thing for the player is that he feels from the players and the staff that football isn’t a perfect game,” he added. “We deal with moments where things don’t work out well, and that we don’t lose confidence and trust in the player.
“We don’t judge players on one game or one moment, never. You obviously want to create momentum, and momentum comes with confidence and success. But success comes from working really hard, and Darwin is a beast working in training. He’s special, and it’s really cool that he’s with us.”