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Kop star Darwin Nunez taking Luis Suarez’s advice on calmness ahead of Merseyside derby

Jurgen Klopp has promised Darwin Nunez will not see the red mist against Everton today. Credit: Getty Images© Getty Images


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he cannot guarantee Darwin Nunez will not see the red mist again during his Anfield career, but is certain it will not happen on his comeback in today’s Merseyside derby.

Klopp says he has no qualms about thrusting Nunez into a Goodison Park cauldron as the striker faces the toughest possible test of temperament after a three-match ban for butting Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen.

“Will it never happen again? I don’t know, but I am pretty sure nothing will happen in the next game,” Klopp said.

“He is a wonderful young man, honestly, but he has emotions as well. We didn’t speak for the full 15 days to him about it, telling him, ‘You have to calm down’. Of course we told him. Now, especially.”

Everton coach Frank Lampard insisted there would be no plan to wind up Nunez in front of a hostile crowd, although defender James Tarkowski warned the striker “can expect people right on him” in a feisty atmosphere.

Among those offering advice about being a marked man in England is Nunez’s compatriot and ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, no stranger to controversy during his spell at Anfield.

“I was talking to him to make him aware that from now on, opponents will be seeking him out twice or three times more often,” Suarez revealed.

That observation was welcomed by Klopp. “I’m not sure they spoke privately but probably they did via news and using some media,” said the Liverpool manager.

“That [being targeted] will happen but it happens to others as well. You just have to ignore it and use it. How we want to think in these situations is that we pay back with football.

“I don’t think Tarkowski and Conor Coady are famous for too much of this kind of talking during the game. Most of the things he [Nunez] doesn’t understand anyway, but you don’t have to be too creative with it.

“Darwin has to be ready for these things, definitely. But when a player is talking to you a lot or is really physical, then he is not in his own game, and he [Nunez] has to use these kinds of moments as well.

“If the other one is too busy wanting to distract him, you just have to use it from a football point of view.

“He learnt the lesson. He is in really good shape. The time he was out, we tried to give him some extra input physically as well as tactically. He looks really settled now, even more than before.

“All the time when I gave him a high-five I gave him a slap on his neck as well, just so he doesn’t forget [that he was suspended]. That can stop now.”

The volatility of a Goodison derby is not exactly the ideal venue for Nunez to make his return.

Whatever Palace’s defenders said to push Nunez over the edge will sound like polite backchat at Goodison, although Tarkowski suspects the Uruguayan will have heeded the warnings from his coach.

“I think more than anything he is going to be switched on for the weekend,” Tarkowski said. “If he’s playing, he is going to be expecting people right on him and I am sure his manager will be in his ear.

“Everyone has moments in their career, especially at a younger age, when you lose your head for a minute, but you learn from your experiences and I am sure he will.

“I think he knows with the derby coming I’m not going to go around and just be his best mate and high-five him.

“We want to show passion and put a foot in and get around them, but it needs to be done in a controlled manner because we know you can get booked and sent off on days like this.”

The general perception is that Everton’s best chance is to turn the derby into a scrap. But Tarkowski insists there is more to Lampard’s side than belligerence.

“Any derby is going to be feisty, especially a Merseyside derby, but we are not here just to fight people,” he said. “We need to show that side of our game and our spirit but also we have a lot of talent in our squad. Just look at some of the goals we have scored already and some of our play. We are still working on that and finding our confidence with it. We have shown great grit so far as well as talent. Both sides of our game will be required.”

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