Robbie Fowler isn’t convinced Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez will ever become the prolific striker Jurgen Klopp hopes to turn him into at Anfield.
Nunez has got 22 goals and ten assists in 60 appearances for the Reds since his big-money move from Benfica in the summer of 2022.
He’s shown promise, and has put in a number of impressive performances, but has also frequently been criticised for his profligacy in front of goal.
The Uruguay international missed a couple of decent chances in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City, and after the game, in his Mirror column, Fowler questioned whether he will ever become the “finished article”.
He wrote: ‘Without wishing to sound overly critical, I think it is a viable question to ask: how long do you allow a player to develop from raw and promising, into the finished article.
‘I ask because that’s all I heard throughout the game at the Etihad…Liverpool could surpass Manchester City when Jurgen Klopp converts Darwin Nunez’s rawness into the finished article. For me though, it should be IF, not when.
‘How long do you give him? He arrived at Anfield almost 18 months ago now, and yet we are still talking about this potential, this ‘exciting rawness’. But you can’t go through your entire career being raw, can you?’
Nunez arrived at Liverpool at the same time as Erling Haaland joined City, and while Fowler agrees it’s “unfair” to compare the two players, he picked out moments in the game on Saturday that typified their difference in quality.
‘I do feel sympathy for Nunez, because he arrived at Liverpool at the same time Haaland came into the Premier League, and patently, the difference is massive, even if the City striker cost less, and their experience level was strikingly similar.
‘We saw two moments in the first half which illustrated the gap between them. Haaland’s goal was classic striker’s instinct. So much so he reminded me of myself!
‘He made the supremely difficult look simple. Nathan Ake was barely 10 yards away, and a defender as good as Virgil van Dijk was touch tight. Yet he found that yard of space the best forwards always engineer, one touch and bang. A finish of the highest quality.
‘Nunez was in a similar position with the defence retreating in front of him, and that same space opened up in front of him. But there was no touch to open up a good shooting angle. Instead he was waiting for something to happen in front of him.’