Home News Darwin Nunez shows Jurgen Klopp he has “ticket” into Liverpool team

Darwin Nunez shows Jurgen Klopp he has “ticket” into Liverpool team

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In pre-season, Jurgen Klopp told Darwin Nunez what the “ticket” into the team was and the striker made the most of his chance to show he has the entry requirements.

“The ticket into the team will be the readiness to defend. I’ve never heard about a team being really successful with sloppy defending. It doesn’t happen,” Klopp said back in July.

“I know all about the quality they have and they need to do both, defend and be influential in all offensive situations,” the manager continued.

In Liverpool’s four games to date, Nunez has come off the bench in three and started one – the latter he earned with his match-winning double at Newcastle.

And it was against Aston Villa in the final match before the international break that showed Nunez can also do the dirty work and prove a handful in more than just goal-scoring situations.

Per AIUnderPressure, who analyse Liverpool’s pressing success throughout a match, Nunez recored 59.2 presses per 90 (possession adjusted) in the win over Villa.

It shows that he is understanding the timing of Liverpool’s press and when and how it is triggered by the team, rather than acting as a one man crusade.

The 24-year-old showed the required discipline that Klopp has been searching and asking for, especially in the No. 9 role which he has recently turned to Cody Gakpo or Diogo Jota for.

Nunez’s growth is an exciting prospect for Liverpool and a daunting one for the opposition, with his chaos on the ball now starting to be matched by his prudence off it.

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 27, 2023: Liverpool's two-goal hero Darwin Núñez celebrates at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is a requirement that is also to be asked of him at international level by new manager Marcelo Bielsa, who Nunez has already had talks with that has aided his game.

He must be selfless to slot into Bielsa’s plans, and with the Uruguayan manager having always emphasised high energy, it will work brilliantly in tandem with what Klopp wants from Nunez.

As the pressing stats above show, Nunez is starting to deliver what his manager wants from his work off the ball, and that is a golden ticket when it comes to extending his stay in the starting XI.