Liverpool forward, Darwin Nunez, will definitely be unhappy with Jurgen Klopp’s decision to bench him for the Premier League match against Fulham on August 6, according to Peter Crouch.
The Reds started their league campaign at the Craven Cottage with hopes of getting the season off to a winning start against a newly promoted side. But a resilient Fulham team was able to hold on for a 2-2 draw.
By starting Roberto Firmino instead and leaving Nunez on the bench, Klopp raised a few eyebrows. The Uruguay international was the Reds’ high-profile signing this summer, costing them somewhere around €100 million with add-ons.
Crouch was one of such puzzled onlookers who claimed before the game that Nunez would be fuming to be left out of the starting XI. Nunez’s goal-scoring prowess last month, in his opinion, made him deserving of a spot in Liverpool’s front three against Marco Silva’s side.
In a pre-season match which the Reds won 5-0 against RB Leipzig, the 23-year-old scored four goals in 45 minutes. Nunez then scored the last goal in a 3-1 victory for Liverpool over Manchester City in the Community Shield.
Speaking on BT Sport (h/t Liverpool Echo), Crouch said:
“The thing is you’re chomping at the bit. If you have a good pre-season, you score goals. He got four in pre-season, one in the Community Shield, if I’m a striker, I’m fuming, I’d be angry.”
In the 51st minute of the game, with Fulham leading 1-0 courtesy of an Aleksandar Mitrovic goal, Nunez was brought in as a replacement for Firmino and a huge impact followed.
Darwin Nunez made a huge impact for Liverpool against Fulham
Nunez’s arrival made Liverpool appear much more dangerous. Up until that time, Firmino had been unable to influence the game, but the Uruguayan went on to have an outstanding Premier League debut.
Nunez had a deft flick inside the box shortly after entering the game saved by Marek Rodak. But in the 64th minute, he finished off a dangerous cross from Mohamed Salah to score his first goal in England’s top division.
Virgil van Dijk made an uncharacteristic error, which caused Klopp’s team to fall behind once more. The Dutch defender fouled Mitrovic inside the penalty area which he dispatched coolly in the 71st minute.
Nine minutes later, the former SL Benfica striker found himself with Salah in Fulham’s penalty box with the Egypt international scoring the fourth (and final) goal of the game when the ball pinged off Darwin Nunez feet directly into his path.
Nunez’s immediate impact may perhaps influence Jurgen Klopp’s decision in selection for the next game against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace on Monday, August 15, at Anfield.