HomePremier LeagueCritics jumped the gun in judging Liverpool striker Nunez - Klopp

Critics jumped the gun in judging Liverpool striker Nunez – Klopp

Community Shield - Liverpool v Manchester City
Soccer Football – Community Shield – Liverpool v Manchester City – King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain – July 30, 2022 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp reacts REUTERS/Tony Obrien

(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp praised Darwin Nunez’s physicality and technical ability, saying the striker’s critics had not given him enough time to adapt to his new surroundings before judging his capabilities.

Nunez, who was signed from Benfica for an initial fee of 75 million euros ($76.45 million), came under criticism after failing to impress in a 4-0 pre-season defeat by Manchester United.

After his early struggles, the Uruguayan scored four goals in a pre-season friendly against RB Leipzig and found the net in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield as well as their draw at Fulham in the league last week.

“Five weeks ago, when we started pre-season and he had his first game and it didn’t look great from the outside world,” Klopp told Sky Sports in an interview published on Monday. “Not for us, but it’s crazy how quick we judge people … wow!

“Everybody can now see, ‘ah he’s a proper striker’. He’s a handful and is a different type to what we had. He’s very lively and very energetic.

“Physically he’s really strong and technically he’s really good, that obviously goes together with being more settled and confident and more secure in yourself in a new environment.”

Klopp stressed the importance of allowing players to settle in their new teams, and said rivals City’s marquee signing Erling Haaland had also been subjected to premature criticism.

Haaland missed several chances and struggled to link up with his new team mates in the Community Shield defeat, but scored twice against West Ham United on his league debut and recorded an assist in City’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

“You can’t say, ‘Come on, you have to give me 100% immediately’ — you have to develop it and that’s what we’re doing (with Nunez) at the moment and in a good way,” Klopp said.

“It’s funny as well, we won against Manchester City the week before the season and everybody was asking, ‘will Haaland score this and that’? A week is like 10 years in football!”

Liverpool will be looking to record their first win of the campaign when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on later on Monday.

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(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)