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Darwin Nunez answering the critics in the best possible way

Two-goal salvo proves Darwin is coming good

Darwin Nunes turns to celebrate his second goal of the game© PA

Jurgen Klopp© Getty Images

John AldridgeSunday World

Darwin Nunez was heavily criticised in his first few months at Liverpool, but he is starting to answer the doubters now.

Nunez’s two goals in yesterday’s 3-1 win against Southampton was the latest step forward for the Uruguayan striker and he is starting to learn his role in this Liverpool side.

The red card Nunez got in his first home game against Crystal Palace was a massive setback and he missed some big chances in his first few games.

Yet I have always been quietly confident that Nunez would come good, as Jurgen Klopp’s coaching team having a proven track record of improving players and now we are starting to see what he is all about.

Sadio Mane’s departure from Liverpool last summer left a huge hole in Klopp’s side and Nunez had some big shoes to fill after his expensive arrival at Anfield.

He needs to fill the left side attacking role Mane made his own at Liverpool in recent years and Nunez needed some time to understand what was needed, but you can see he is starting to thrive in this Liverpool team now.

His second goal against Southampton was one I would have been proud of.

The cross from Andy Robertson was perfectly weighted and Nunez had the delicious task of finishing it off.

A few people around me at Anfield said it reminded them of a Barnes/Aldridge combination from far too long ago and I’ll take that compliment.

Robertson’s threat down the flanks was one of many positives coming out of Liverpool’s final game before this ludicrous World Cup break that is now upon us.

Firmino was another big plus in this game and he has been outstanding in the opening weeks of this season.

Darwin Nunez will come Good

Bobby has been a fantastic player for Liverpool, but he hasn’t been effective enough at times in the last couple of seasons.

He has put that right over the last few months and the finishing he displayed when chances came his way was superb against Southampton.

That’s the positives ticked off, but there were also a few too many worrying aspects of yesterday’s game that will give Klopp and his coaching staff plenty to ponder over in the next few weeks.

Southampton deserve credit for coming to Anfield with a positive attitude and taking the game to Liverpool, with their new manager Nathan Jones likely to have been encouraged by what he saw from his players.

All too often in recent years, the opposition have taken on Liverpool with a really negative approach, but Saints showed a lot more and could have taken something from the game if they had been more clinical in front of goal.

They were the better side in the opening exchanges of the first half and it was no surprise when they scored an equaliser after Roberto Firmino’s early goal.

Then even after Liverpool’s moved 3-1 ahead, the visitors continued to press hard to get back into the game.

If it wasn’t for some fantastic saves from Alisson Becker, the outcome of this game could have been very different.

The Brazilian keeper pulled off three fantastic saves as Southampton pushed hard to get back into the game in the second half.

Liverpool’s full-backs have had some defensive issues this season and once again, they allowed crosses to come into the box too easily, so that is an area they need to improve on.

Another big disappointment of the day was the performance of Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool's Darwin Nunez scores their side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday November 12, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. © PA

Liverpool’s main man was horribly off the pace as his first touch let him down too often and he also missed a glorious chance to score in the second half.

I still have a better goals-per-game ratio for Liverpool than Salah so maybe I should be celebrating when he misses chances like that!

But the truth is he looked a little jaded in this game and it might be good for Liverpool that Egypt are not in the World Cup and he can have a month off to recharge his batteries.

Another problem for Salah is referees are giving him nothing.

That was highlighted again when he was denied what I felt was a clear penalty in the second half against Southampton.

The defender was all over him as he went down in the box, but Salah has a reputation for going down too easily and it looks like referees have got that in their mind when they are taking charge of Liverpool games now.

I suspect Klopp will be pleased to have got to the World Cup break as this has been a tough start to the season for his team.

Injuries have ripped a whole in the squad and poor results have affected the confidence of some key players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Salah.

All of these factors have conspired against Klopp and he will be hoping he has all of his injured players back and firing when his side next play in the EFL Cup against Manchester City on December 20th.

I can’t get my head around this farcical break for a World Cup that should never be happening.

All that matters for now is Klopp has steadied the ship and they will be in touch with the teams in the top four positions when the Premier League restarts the season next month.


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