Go back through the annals of Liverpool’s club history and you will find it littered with players who were (or are) among the elite strikers of their era.
Sir Roger Hunt.
King Kenny Dalglish.
These names are all synonymous with copious amounts of goals, and in most cases, goals that lead to hardware. It seems that Liverpool now have the next in a long line of prolific goal scorers in Darwin Núñez.
The Uruguayan has all the physical attributes one would hope for in a striker, aptly described in the wonderful scouting report by our own Audun. He’s big, physical, fast, and is smart with his movement. He also has a penchant for scoring when his team needs it most, with 62% of his tallies for Benfica last season when his team was tied or trailing.
Beyond all of the attributes, however, Darwin is entering into a situation that would be a dream for any player just about to enter their prime. While the 22 year old is coming to Liverpool on a club-record fee, he is not going to be expected to be THE guy right away. Mohamed Salah still wears that mantle having won a share of the Premier League Golden Boot award for the third time since joining the Reds. That should certainly shield Darwin from some of the pressure as he settles into Jürgen Klopp’s side, allowing him to be another cog, albeit an important one.
While Salah has led the goal scoring exploits, Darwin will certainly not be lacking for opportunities as there are plenty of goals to go around in this Liverpool team. Liverpool’s front line shares the load of their massive offensive output. This past season, the team averaged 2.3 goals per game across all competitions, with Salah (31), Sadio Mané (23), Diogo Jota (21), Roberto Firmino (11), and Takumi Minamino (10) all reaching double digit goal tallies. With both Mané and Minamino on their way out of the club, Darwin should see plenty of opportunities in front of net.
Speaking of opportunities, Liverpool also boast two of the best attacking fullbacks in the game in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. The duo, known for their deliveries both from open play as well as dead ball situations, provided 32 assists over the course of last season. And while the fullbacks are the de facto creative hub, the forward line plays as an unselfish unit, with Mohamed Salah (15), Diogo Jota (6), and Roberto Firmino (5) adding an additional 26 assists. Harvey Elliott is also seen as a playmaker in waiting, likely to see an expanded role in the upcoming season as a creative midfielder. Elliott’s vision and passing range should open up plenty of opportunities for those in the forward line. Darwin should thrive on the sensational service that this Liverpool team can provide.
The final factor that points to Darwin being a success is down to the make up and structure of the club. Liverpool are at the pinnacle of club football currently, having built around a core that stayed together for a solid 4-5 years. That is an eternity in the club game these days. While the Reds boast some of the best in the world at virtually every position, they have also quietly been rebuilding with a young core that is slowly being integrated into regular first team roles. This has allowed the next generation of Liverpool’s key players time to settle in an integrate with the squad, making the transition even easier. With some of the brightest young talents, along with plenty of players currently in their prime, Liverpool have built a team in a sustainable manner, and a team that should be very good for the foreseeable future. Herr Klopp also has a habit of creating tweaks within his tactical system to get the best out of the players that are brought in. There is always a plan to maximize the potential of the players within the overall system. With a six-year contract being cited for Darwin Núñez, he should have both the opportunities, and the time, to produce at a very high level in a very good team with one of the best managers in the world.