Despite being relegated to the bench in recent weeks, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains confident Darwin Nunez will provide “long-term” value to the Reds.
Liverpool’s failure to strengthen Klopp’s midfield last summer has been criticised, as the club instead spent the vast majority of its transfer budget on a £66 million ($82 million) deal for Nunez, which could rise to £88 million with add-ons.
Since joining from Benfica, the Uruguayan has scored 15 goals, but he has fallen down the pecking order since the arrival of Cody Gakpo in January and the return to fitness of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz.
Nunez scored off the bench as Liverpool defeated Leeds 6-1 on Monday.
However, Klopp’s men have had a far more difficult season, finishing eighth in the Premier League, nine points behind the top four.
“It’s not helpful to have a difficult debut season for the entire team.” “How can a striker stand out when the rest of the team is struggling?” Klopp made the remarks during his pre-match press conference before Nottingham Forest’s visit to Anfield on Saturday.
“He was injured at times and suspended at others.” That is not at all a problem. This is a long-term endeavour.
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“I understand that he wants to play right away, but we have to find a way that works for us again and then fit in the players who have specific strengths.”
“I’m perfectly fine with the situation. Darwin, I understand, isn’t always perfect. When he realises he won’t be able to start, he says, ‘Thank you boss,’ without smiling.
“However, when you have five or six players available up front, you have to make decisions, which is a good thing.”
Trent Alexander-form Arnold’s has been another factor in Liverpool’s relegation this season, but the right-back has shone recently in a new role, pushing into midfield in possession.
Alexander-Arnold has three assists in the last two games, but Klopp says he is still improving.
“This slightly advanced role suits him perfectly at the moment.” It’s difficult for everyone else to cover the gaps when we lose the ball theoretically, but with him there, we didn’t lose as many balls, which was also beneficial,” Klopp added.
“It is no longer the solution to all of our football problems this year, but he has the potential to play that position.”
“But it’s not in stone, so why should we? We’ll see where it takes us.”