Following two underwhelming pre-season appearances in a Liverpool shirt, Darwin Nunez is already facing the heat, with Luis Garcia the most recent to criticise the new Reds signing.
After a challenging start to his first pre-season with the Reds, Darwin Nunez has received criticism and has been urged to “work more” by Liverpool legend Luis Garcia.
Nunez, who was signed by the Anfield management for an initial £64 million from Benfica in June, appeared out of sorts in both of his new team’s friendly games against Manchester United and Crystal Palace. The 22-year-old striker, who had just signed a four-year deal with Merseyside, was mocked by rival supporters for his missed opportunities and clumsy play.
Garcia is optimistic that Nunez, who may end up costing £85 million, will perform as expected, but the Spaniard has added to the early criticism with a clear demand.
When asked by ESPN FC if Liverpool supporters should be concerned about their new No.27’s struggles, Garcia, who won the Champions League and FA Cup during his three-year tenure at Anfield from 2004 to 2007, responded: “No, not at all. What I have realised is that he is going to have to work harder.”
The former Reds star added: “Benfica and Liverpool play in different ways. He is a player with incredible football intelligence and is quite clever. However, he needs to track back and press. He really struggled in the games against Manchester United and Crystal Palace.
“He wants to demonstrate that he is going to be ready to play, with that high pressure that [Jurgen] Klopp uses with Liverpool. But he became exhausted after three or four runs. He had a few chances, but I believe it was because of fatigue.
“He only participated in three [training] sessions before the Manchester United game. He played for barely 30 minutes against Crystal Palace after 10 sessions. I believe his playing style and movements will benefit [Liverpool] greatly. However, they must wait. He needs to be physically ready.”
The Uruguayan international squandered an opportunity to score against old rivals United as the Reds were beaten 4-0 in Bangkok, but Liverpool manager Klopp is unconcerned by Nunez’s first impressions, backing the player. “I’m not worried at all. The general judgement [on Nunez] is of zero interest to us, “Klopp said.
“We all know it will be like this. Picking out situations where a player isn’t performing well is something of a game or joke for some. It’s merely a game between supporters of different teams, which is normal.
“The same is probably true of Manchester United signings for our supporters. This cannot be taken seriously. The player’s condition is the only thing that really matters, and I couldn’t be more at ease because [we] are absolutely sure of his potential. Actually, our supporters—all Liverpool fans worldwide—should be aware that new players need time and get time.
“The fee we paid should be the first thing we erase from our minds. Simply delete it; it isn’t necessary. With strikers, it works like this. He missed a chance, and some anxious individuals started saying, “Oh my God, he missed a chance,” but I can assure you that this is not the last time.”