Darwin Nunez can help fix Mohamed Salah problem facing Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp post Forest

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been shown he must find a way to consistently get Darwin Nunez into his starting line-up before the World Cup break to help Mohamed Salah. A poll among Express Sport readers has seen Nunez backed to shake off the criticism he has faced and go down as a success at Anfield. And Klopp needs Nunez more than ever right now with Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota both sidelined by long-term injuries.

Nunez – absent with a muscle concern himself – was sorely missed in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to bottom-of-the-league Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The Reds’ attack was too pedestrian and too predictable, and when they did create chances, they failed to take them.

His threat in the air would’ve been welcome at the City Ground where Virgil van Dijk squandered several set-piece opportunities. The Uruguayan has had a mixed start to life at Liverpool but has begun to find form.

He has only started six matches for his new club since an initial £64million switch from Benfica but he has scored in all of his last three starts against Arsenal, Rangers and West Ham. Liverpool’s forward line were far more dangerous in those matches than against Forest.

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Jota and Diaz were also missing against Forest and they will be unavailable until after the World Cup. Therefore, getting Nunez into the starting line-up is all the more important for Klopp because only Salah offers any real pace and direct running without Jota, Diaz and Nunez.

Salah was easily marked out of the last game as the hosts doubled, or even tripled, up on him. Having Nunez alongside Salah makes Liverpool’s forward line much more unpredictable and harder to manage. Nunez’s runs in behind help stretch the back-line while he offers a greater outlet to aim for from crosses.

Manchester City have one of the best defensive records in the division and even they could not handle him. Manuel Akanji had a torrid time after Nunez came on off the bench at Anfield. Better decision-making would have yielded at least a goal and an assist for the centre-forward.

In a poll of Express Sport readers, Liverpool’s summer signing – who has at times been mocked by rivals on social media – has been backed by 61 per cent of nearly 7,500 voters not to go down as a flop under Klopp. The 23-year-old is clearly now making an impression.

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There are improvements to be made but clearly he is a major asset to the Merseyside outfit – especially at the moment. He is incredibly quick for his height and it is his acceleration, movement and unpredictability on the ball that make Liverpool a livelier team in attack when he features.

Fabio Carvalho, Roberto Firmino and Harvey Elliott – for all of their qualities – do not offer the same dynamism as the South American or either Diaz or Jota. And so finding a way to get Nunez into the team as a centre-forward or even as a left-sided winger is crucial for Klopp between now and November 12.

Liverpool need to bounce back again after losing at Forest, starting away to Ajax on Wednesday night where they can secure a spot in the next round of the Champions League. And between now and the Qatar World Cup, Liverpool will be far a trickier team to handle with Nunez starting than without – plus the more he plays, the more people he can continue to win round.

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