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Reasons why I can emulate my idol Suarez – NUNEZ



Darwin Nunez talks to Sky Sports about his “difficult” start at Liverpool and why he is confident that in time he will “blow up” like compatriot Luis Suarez.

Darwin Nunez has invested heavily in his short career at Liverpool. Goals, mistakes, red card for violent conduct. And those were just the first two games. Wherever he goes, the action usually follows. His performances this season have been sometimes brilliant and sometimes stunning, but always captivating. Explosively athletic and incredibly unpredictable, Nunez is Liverpool’s agent of chaos.

In a quiet corner of Liverpool’s training ground, however, during an interview with Sky Sports to watch a preview of Saturday’s Premier League game against Wolves, it was his humility that shone through.

The 23-year-old, who signed from Benfica in June for £85m, was candid about the ups and downs of his club debut, smiling broadly and laughing childishly between his responses. “Difficult” is the adjective with which he describes the first months, a period interrupted by the suspension following the sending off against Crystal Palace, for a headbutt against Joachim Andersen, while trying to adapt to the demands of the Premier League.

Nunez had been warned of what to expect. But he has arrived at Liverpool in style, the club’s record signing after a superb 34-goal season in Portugal. He admits the breakthrough has surprised him.

“It’s a very big change,” Nunez told Sky Sports. “Here the league is stronger, more competitive. I didn’t expect it to be so strong. Nico Otamendi [former Manchester City defender and team-mate at Benfica] told me, but I still didn’t expect it . “

“It made a big impression on me. There are no bad teams. They are all in this league for a reason. Football is more difficult than in Portugal and more competitive. You don’t have much time.”

He’s not the only one who’s been having a hard time. This has been a tumultuous season for Jurgen Klopp’s side on all fronts. But now Nunez has settled in and adapted to football – ‘and the climate’, he laughs – with the help of a supportive dressing room and, in particular, the Spanish-speaking contingent. “I think after those first few months of adjusting he started to improve. I feel at home. I feel happy. When I arrive I can’t wait to train because luckily I have people here who speak Spanish.

“They supported me a lot and are still supporting me. This is what we have to do here. We are a team. If we can help each other, that’s a good thing.

“My Spanish-speaking teammates always translate because I still don’t understand many things,” he smiles again.

“But be careful, because I’m taking English lessons. I hope that in at least a year and a half I will be able to understand everything”.

Nunez singles out Thiago Alcantara, Alisson Becker and Fabinho as the teammates he has relied on the most. “They always give me advice and are always there to help with anything I need.”

“He doesn’t speak Spanish and I don’t speak English, so we don’t understand each other, but since I arrived at Liverpool he has always trusted me,” Nunez said of Klopp.
He did so in part by staunchly defending Nunez’s performance during his toughest times of the season, instead speaking about the “incredible” potential he’s trying to unlock.

That potential can be seen in the sheer amount of opportunities presented to him.
Nunez’s tally of 10 goals in all competitions should no doubt be higher. His graduation was unpredictable. But his numbers on shots, expected goals and touches in the opposition box suggest it’s only a matter of time before the floodgates open.
Nunez, like Klopp, is determined to make sure of that.

“I think he wants to see what he saw at Benfica,” he says of Klopp, “for example in the games I played against Liverpool [last season in the Champions League] when I played very well.

“I don’t think I’m playing well at the moment, but I always want to improve. I try to improve myself every day.

“Klopp knows that my strength is my speed when I’m running in space. Also, he tells me that when I’m playing I need to be calmer and move more. He tells me that I need it and that I’m a player with a lot of quality, so that’s more or less what he expects of me – and of course I score goals.

Nunez delivers the final line with a chuckle, but Klopp’s message is that goals will only flow if he finds the composure to match his superb physical and technical qualities. “He told me that in games I have to be calm when it comes to finishing,” he said. “He wants me to take one more second because if I shoot angrily or go too fast it will always go wrong. He asks me to take one more second quietly and I will score.

Nunez stresses that he is not the first Uruguayan striker to have a slow start at Liverpool. It took a season and a half for Luis Suarez to really get going. When he did, the results were spectacular. Klopp has praised his work ethic – “he’s a machine”, the manager said earlier this season – and it’s reflected in his reaction to being on the bench in Liverpool’s last four games.

“I think as a player you have to use that as motivation,” he said. “You can get mad, but you have to get mad at yourself and say, ‘OK, tomorrow in training, I’m going to train twice as hard’, you know?