Rafael Benitez is confident that Liverpool are not a team with “major issues” and he has backed Darwin Nunez to shine under Jurgen Klopp.
Nunez was Liverpool’s marquee signing during the summer transfer window as he joined from Benfica for a fee that could rise to £85m with add-ons.
After scoring 26 league goals last term, the forward’s start to life as a Liverpool player has not gone to plan at all.
The 23-year-old shone during Liverpool’s win over Man City in the Community Shield. But he was sent off in his home debut last month against Crystal Palace.
Nunez returned after his ban over the weekend as the Reds were held to a goalless draw against Everton at Goodison Park.
This result leaves Liverpool with just two wins in six games in the Premier League. They face Benitez’s old team – Napoli – in their first Champions League group game on Wednesday.
Ahead of this game, Benitez has suggested that Nunez will provide Liverpool with a “different dynamic to Roberto Firmino”:
“His recent sending off has impacted upon how quickly he has been able to build-up an understanding with new team-mates, but the positive from that situation is that he knows not to become involved with defenders again,” Benitez wrote in his column for The Times.
“I also think he will score a lot of goals for Liverpool and that he provides them with a different dynamic to Roberto Firmino.
“Firmino likes to drop off, create superiority in the middle of the pitch and help his team-mates score whereas Nunez is someone who always wants to be in the penalty box.
“He needs a little time and Liverpool just need a goal to boost their confidence. I don’t see a team struggling with major issues.”
Benitez went onto defend Mohamed Salah as the attacker is a “victim of high standards”.
Salah penned a lucrative contract extension earlier this year but he has made an uncharacteristically slow start to the new season.
He is without a goal in three league games and he failed to make an impact against Everton last weekend.
Speaking on Salah, Benitez added: “I don’t have major concerns about Jurgen Klopp’s side. People have asked me, ‘Are they tired from last season?’ Just look at the number of chances they had in the final 20 minutes against Everton and that answers that.
“There is increasing focus on Mohamed Salah. Again, had his shot gone in at the end of the Merseyside derby, rather than hitting the post, that would not be mentioned. Salah is, in many ways, a victim of the high standards he set for so long.”
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