Núñez: Liverpool’s New Hope Emerges with Newcastle Victory

Liverpool is depending on Núñez, who came through at Newcastle. It took Darwin Núñez a year to make a significant impact at Liverpool, but the timing couldn’t have been better. The Uruguayan forward scored two goals as a late substitute against Newcastle United on Sunday, turning a defeat into victory for Jurgen Klopp’s team and finally showcasing what all the excitement was about.

Since his arrival in a record-breaking transfer from Benfica in the summer of 2022, a deal that could ultimately cost Liverpool £85 million, Núñez has had his ups and downs. He’s displayed moments of world-class talent, but more often than not, those flashes have been overshadowed by poor finishing, inconsistent decision-making, and a tendency to get frustrated easily, which opponents have exploited to divert his focus and make him a liability at times.

However, there’s always been potential in Núñez. He’s a raw talent that needs time to develop into the complete player, yet his ability to frustrate fans, teammates, and Klopp himself has led to doubts about whether he can truly shine for Liverpool.

His two crucial goals at St. James’ Park, securing a 2-1 win for Liverpool despite being reduced to ten players after captain Virgil van Dijk’s 28th-minute red card, won’t completely erase those doubts. Still, the ruthless way in which Núñez seized his opportunities will have been a huge relief to Klopp, as his team needs Núñez more than ever this season.


Klopp praised Núñez, saying, “Núñez had a fantastic performance. He was clearly motivated from not starting. It’s evident he’s not pleased. It’s early in the season, and we need stability and results, but he will play, no doubt about that.”

Initially signed as part of Liverpool’s plan for a future without Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, Núñez struggled in his first season at Anfield. He managed just nine Premier League goals and six more in other competitions, resulting in a subpar performance overall.

With Firmino’s departure at the end of his contract and Mané’s move to Bayern Munich a year prior, only Salah remains from Liverpool’s previous Champions League- and Premier League-winning front three. This puts the spotlight on Núñez to step up. However, he has yet to start a game this season, being used as a substitute in all three of Liverpool’s fixtures so far. This suggests that Klopp is still uncertain about how to fully utilize his most expensive signing.

Núñez’s initial missed opportunity at Newcastle showcased why Klopp harbors doubts. Although he redeemed himself by scoring the equalizer shortly after, his inconsistent performance raises questions. Nonetheless, Núñez possesses the ability to overcome mistakes and missed chances, making him a valuable asset for Liverpool.

Consistently capitalizing on opportunities is Klopp’s challenge, one he’s determined to tackle. Núñez’s speed, movement, and finishing abilities make Liverpool believe he could eventually score 20 to 30 goals per season.

Núñez’s winning goal, assisted by Salah, highlighted his cool finishing ability and disproved his reputation for missing easy chances. While he struggles with straightforward opportunities, practice on the training field could rectify this flaw.

Núñez’s ability to secure victory for Liverpool is a testament to the team’s resilience. Despite being dominated by Newcastle for extended periods and losing Van Dijk, they held on. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker made crucial saves, including one against Miguel Almirón that prevented Newcastle from leading 2-0 at halftime.

Núñez displayed the killer instinct, ultimately winning the game for Liverpool. This marked his most significant moment in a Liverpool jersey, the occasion where he truly made a difference under pressure.