Gary Neville has issued a warning to Darwin Nunez after telling the club-record Liverpool signing he will need to alter his game to succeed at Anfield.
The Reds splashed out an initial £64.1m for Nunez over the summer, with the deal set to rise to £85m if bonuses are met. And despite scoring nine times in 20 appearances so far for Liverpool, the jury remains out over the wisdom of the transfer.
Indeed, Nunez has now missed 12 big chances in the Premier League this season – more than any other player. And his tally should undoubtedly be higher after he spurned another couple of golden chances in Friday’s 2-1 win over Leicester.
Gabriel Jesus, by contrast, only has five goals so far since his move to Arsenal. However, he has played a part in five other goals and overall, has more goal contributions per minutes played than Nunez.
Indeed, the Brazilian is seen as a big factor in Arsenal’s rise to the Premier League summit. Nunez, by contrast, has been told by Neville that he needs to adapt his game and that he can’t be for Liverpool what Jesus is for Arsenal.
He told Sky Sports: “I think there’s a line between being a handful, which he is, and being world-class; and that’s the goals. The missed chances you saw, the players on the list at the bottom were Salah and Jesus.
“Jesus, at £40m, will always be a player who is erratic in his goalscoring, but I love him as a player. Salah has been devastating for five years, and he’s going to have to decide whether he’s the Jesus-type or the Salah-type.”
Jamie Carragher also critical of Darwin Nunez
“He can’t be a Jesus-type player for £90m. He has to be a goalscorer, and that will be the big question over the next 12 to 18 months. Jurgen Klopp usually gets the best out of his strikers, so I wouldn’t put it past him.”
Nunez’s worst miss against the Foxes came after 78 minutes when he took a Naby Keita pass in his stride, but then fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Working on the co-commentary for Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher was also critical of the Uruguayan’s finishing.
“He’s got to be putting more of these chances away,” he said.
“On another night he could have had a hat-trick? We said that against Man City. We said that against Aston Villa.
“He’s always going to get a lot of chances in this team.”
Paul Robinson, meanwhile, working for BBC Radio 5 Live, claims Nunez’s link-up play with Mohamed Salah is looking better than ever.
“Nunez couldn’t hit the target tonight but his interaction with Mo Salah looked better than I’ve seen previously,” he said on 30/12, 22:22.
“He played Salah in a couple of times. His confidence, his hold-up play, his runs in behind – he looks like he’s going to be a top-class signing for them.
“I honestly believe that he’s one or two goals from really kicking off the mark.”
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