Former Liverpool forward Steve McManaman has slammed new signing Darwin Nunez for committing a needless foul in the Reds’ 2-1 home win against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League on September 13.
Liverpool registered their first continental win of the 2022-23 season in their second Group A match on Tuesday. After Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 17th minute, Mohammed Kudus equalized 10 minutes later. Joel Matip scored the decisive goal in the 89th minute of the contest, heading home from a Kostas Tsimikas corner.
Nunez, who joined Liverpool from Benfica in a deal worth up to £85 million in June, also featured as a second-half substitute. The 23-year-old failed to convert a great chance minutes before the winner and also fouled Jurrien Timber with unnecessary pressure on the defender.
Speaking on BT Sport (via The Boot Room), McManaman expressed his frustration after Nunez committed a foul on the Dutch centre-back in the final 10 minutes of the contest. He said:
“What on earth is he doing that for? I know he’s eager to get into the game, but he’s going nowhere, Timber. And he gives him the opportunity to fall over.”
Despite his poor decision, Nunez had a notable impact on the fixture at Anfield. He completed seven passes, registered one shot on target and won 100% of his aerial duels in 24 minutes on the pitch.
A physical presence in and around the box, the Uruguayan has enjoyed an underwhelming start in northwest England. After contributing two goals and an assist in his first two matches for his new club, he has been goalless in his last four appearances.
With their weekend clash against Chelsea postponed due to the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and the international break to follow, Liverpool will next be in action against Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield in a Premier League contest on October 1.
Benfica president claims Darwin Nunez’s sale to Liverpool to be ‘justified’
“We are talking about one of the highest transfers of the market. We are still coming out of a pandemic situation, which held back the football market. Making a sale of €75m plus €25m is not open to discussion.”
“The sale of Darwin is more than justified. There weren’t even conditions to keep him, it was completely impossible, for the values that came into the club and for what Darwin went on to earn.”
Nunez scored 48 goals and provided 16 assists in 85 appearances across all competitions during his two-year stint for Benfica.