Gary Lineker, alongside another renowned Premier League striker, has showered praise on Darwin Núñez, the Liverpool star who is poised for a breakthrough season.
The current campaign appears to hold immense promise for Darwin Núñez, who is still in the process of justifying Liverpool’s substantial investment of approximately $107 million (£85 million/€100 million) in his talents. He arrived at Merseyside roughly a year ago and has shown glimpses of brilliance but has not yet cemented his place as a regular starter.
Jürgen Klopp has taken his time integrating this new addition, as Núñez possesses a distinct playing style compared to those who have represented Liverpool during Klopp’s tenure at Anfield. Núñez is a natural goal scorer and operates as a classic striker who thrives on scoring goals, rather than dropping deep into midfield.
During the summer, the South American striker was entrusted with Liverpool’s iconic number nine shirt, signifying Klopp’s faith in his striking prowess. The question remains whether he will live up to his substantial price tag and the weight of his shirt number, but he enjoys the support and endorsement of a Premier League legend and one of England’s greatest goal scorers.
Alan Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time leading goal scorer with 260 goals, has been vocal about Núñez lately. He praised Núñez’s two remarkable finishes against Newcastle United, noting that they were placed perfectly, leaving goalkeeper Nick Pope with no chance. Shearer remarked, “Last season, although he missed many chances, it didn’t seem to faze him. There’s an arrogance about him, in a positive way. The more opportunities you get, the more goals you will score.”
Shearer appears confident that Núñez will eventually shine in English football, a sentiment shared by Gary Lineker, who joined him on The Rest is Football podcast. Lineker, renowned for his poaching instinct as a player, emphasized Núñez’s speed and goal-scoring opportunities. He acknowledged that prolific goal scorers often miss chances but highlighted Núñez’s ability to position himself effectively. Lineker stated, “There’s definitely a prolific goal scorer in there.”
Lineker’s assessment aligns with the underlying statistics. Last season, Núñez led the entire Premier League with an average of 4.5 shots per 90 minutes, ahead of players like Aleksandar Mitrović and Erling Haaland. This statistic ranked him third across Europe’s top five leagues, trailing only Victor Osimhen and Kylian Mbappé.
Despite starting just one of Liverpool’s four Premier League matches this season, Núñez has yet to make the shirt his own. However, as suggested by Shearer, Lineker, and the underlying statistics, it seems only a matter of time before Núñez’s goal-scoring prowess takes center stage.
In his last season with Benfica in 2021/22 before moving to Liverpool, Núñez scored 26 goals in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and boasted the highest conversion rate among players in Europe’s top six leagues. If Klopp can harness his talents in the coming months, Liverpool may have their own version of Shearer and Lineker, a player who excels as the focal point of the team’s attack.
Liverpool fans may need to exercise patience with Núñez, but the wait appears destined to be worthwhile.