Nunez trains with Liverpool ahead of Crystal Palace friendly
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Liverpool new boy Darwin Nunez could be poised to strike up a fearsome partnership with Trent Alexander-Arnold if their combinations during Thursday’s friendly win over RB Leipzig can be replicated over the course of the upcoming Premier League season. Nunez scored four second-half goals to help Liverpool ease to a comfortable victory over their German opponents, who tested Jurgen Klopp’s side before the interval but were unable to find the back of the net for themselves.
Nunez was introduced at half-time and registered his first goal for Liverpool from the penalty spot after Mohamed Salah had given the visitors an early lead at the Red Bull Arena. He went on to grab a second with a well-placed finish into the bottom corner before completing his hat-trick from close range and clinching a fourth with the very last kick of the match.
All four goals provided glimpses of what is to come from Nunez, who is widely regarded as one of Europe’s finest young strikers after impressing with Benfica over the last few seasons. However, it was his partnership with Alexander-Arnold for his second goal that could offer the biggest insight into how the Uruguayan marksman will go about his business at the top end of the pitch for Liverpool.
Alexander-Arnold was simply in the right place at the right time to play an expertly-weighed pass ahead of the onrushing Nunez, who made no mistake once the ball was under his control. His first touch allowed him to race clear of his marker with a burst of speed before firing across the goalkeeper and into the back of the net in a move that showed exactly why he could be Liverpool’s focal point in attack over the course of the new campaign.
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Nunez is likely to be assisted by Alexander-Arnold on plenty of occasions throughout his Anfield career, with the England right-back’s exquisite range of passing and tendency to join attacking phases set to make him Liverpool’s main provider yet again next season. However, it remains to be seen whether the pair will be able to combine on a regular basis for the Reds in all competitions as Nunez looks to mark his debut season with a hefty goal return.
The former Benfica man’s stunning performance against Leipzig had plenty of people talking after he was initially criticised for missing a handful of gilt-edged chances in Liverpool’s first two pre-season friendlies. Jurgen Klopp was thoroughly impressed with Nunez’s efforts after the final whistle as he ran the rule over the forward’s hugely productive showing in front of goal.
“The box of Pandora was opened for Darwin and then of course it was the perfect night for him,” Klopp told reporters after the match.
“We always think if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure but they are completely normal human beings. And then if the first touch isn’t perfect and this generation of players read social media, which is really not smart, but they do.
“All of a sudden you get in a rush, but tonight is the best way to stop all of these discussions. He’s a different striker to what we already have but he’s a really good one.”
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