Football: Klopp seeks to realise ‘incredible’ Nunez potential

Darwin Nunez was on target as Liverpool won 3-0 at Ajax in midweek. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON – Liverpool have seen only a glimpse of what Darwin Nunez is capable of, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday, as he seeks to maximise the potential of the 23-year-old striker.

Nunez, who cost the Reds an initial €75 million (S$105.5 million) from Benfica in June, has had an erratic start to his career at Anfield.

The Uruguayan was sent off on his home debut for a headbutt on Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen. There has also been a series of high-profile missed chances but he is finding his range with four goals in his last five appearances.

“He’s had a really good month,” said Klopp ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League home clash with Leeds on Saturday.

“The potential is incredible. It’s not just the speed, the attitude is really good. He’s a real worker and again, I tell you, I know there are people out there who think ‘technically, not sure about his first touch’ – it is incredible.

“That he doesn’t bring it always into the pitch right now is nothing to do with technique. It’s a bit of awareness, orientation but that is all possible to develop and learn.”

Nunez was on target as Liverpool cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 3-0 win at Ajax in midweek.

Klopp’s men have won just four of their first 11 league games to fall 12 points off the pace at the top of the table. Victories over Manchester City and West Ham had appeared to get them back on track, but that momentum was lost in a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest last Saturday.

Klopp will be in the dugout for the Leeds clash after he avoided a touchline ban for the red card he received during the 1-0 win over City, but he was fined £30,000 (S$49,000). He will be without the injured Luis Diaz, Arthur Melo, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Naby Keita.

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch has blasted his 18th-placed side for losing too many matches – they have lost four leagues games in a row and are on an eight-game winless run dating back to August.

“I’m sick of it... I’m tired of playing matches where we’re better than the opponent and walking away with nothing,” said the American, who has won only six of his 23 matches since he took over in February. AFP, REUTERS

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