Liverpool star Darwin Nunez has opened up on the language barrier causing him difficulties understanding Jurgen Klopp. But he appreciates the Anfield boss’ efforts since his transfer.
The Reds paid Benfica an initial £64m, plus £21m in potential add-ons, to secure a transfer for Nunez in June. Liverpool also handed the 23-year-old a £140k-a-week contract through to June 2028. Yet he has endured a mixed debut campaign since his arrival on Merseyside.
Nunez has cut an unpredictable figure at the top of Klopp’s frontline for 10 goals and three assists this season. He has featured in 25 of Liverpool’s fixtures across all competitions this term so far. The striker also had to miss three games due to a red card in August, however.
Referee Paul Tierney showed Nunez a straight red card during his first start in the Premier League against Crystal Palace. The 16-cap Uruguay forward headbutted Joachim Andersen early into the second half. He would then miss the Reds’ 2-1 defeat at Manchester United.
During his 12 next top-flight outings, Nunez has offered Klopp and Liverpool just four goals and an assist. He is also without a goal involvement in his past four Premier League outings since the World Cup. While he netted two of his hits against basement boys Southampton.
NUNEZ NOW REVEALS WHY HE AND KLOPP ‘DON’T UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER’ AT LIVERPOOL
Nunez has almost always been central to Klopp’s attacking plans when he has featured for Liverpool, though. The Artigas-born striker often finds himself in goalscoring positions. But getting the ball across the line and into the back of the net has proven a much harder task.
Only Harry Kane (78), Aleksandar Mitrovic, Erling Haaland (74) and Mohamed Salah (60) in the Premier League have attempted more shots than Nunez (56) has so far this season, per WhoScored. But he also ranks third for off-target shots (23) to Mitrovic (31) and Salah (25).
One of the issues possibly holding Nunez back with Liverpool is the language barrier, which he admits causes problems with Klopp. The Uruguay star and German boss do not speak the same language at present. But Nunez wants to be able to understand everything soon.
“My teammates who speak Spanish are always translating because I still don’t understand a lot of things,” Nunez told Sky Sports. “But watch out because I am taking English classes. I hope that in a year and a half, minimum, I will be able to understand everything.
“[Klopp] doesn’t speak Spanish and I don’t speak English, so we don’t understand each other. But ever since I arrived at Liverpool, he has always given me confidence.”
‘Absolutely flying’: Jay Spearing raves about the ‘rapid progress’ made by 17-year-old Liverpool gem
Speaking with the club’s official website for his Academy column, the former Reds midfielder lavished praise on the 17-year-old, claiming he is more than deserving of his opportunity with Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
“At the end of the day, our main job is to develop players so they can eventually challenge for a place in the first team,” Spearing said. “So, we are going in the right direction with the likes of Stefan Bajcetic and Ben Doak doing so well up there.
“Ben was in our team at the start of the season, and he was absolutely flying. He has made rapid progress and he is a great kid. We want to get players moving up the ladder and Ben has done that, playing for the U21’s and then getting his first-team opportunity.
“Ben has got his head down, he works so hard, and he has got a great mentality. That drive and desire the boy has, it’s no sᴜʀᴘʀɪsᴇ to us he has done so well. Fingers crossed, he can keep it going and keep getting better because the lad has a lot of ability.”
Spearing raves about Doak’s progress
The teenager is certainly one of the most exciting young talents currently emerging out of the Kirkby academy.
At just 17-years-old, the attacker has already made five appearances for the first-team, including two cameos in the Premier League.
The U21 Scotland international has been most impressive for the seniors, clearly unfazed by the step-up in competition.
Besides Mohamed Salah, Liverpool have a lack of options on the right-wing.
Therefore, if he can continue to great work behind the scenes, Doak will likely see an increase in his minutes on the Anfield pitch.
While Klopp won’t want to ʙᴜʀɴ him out, if the 17-year-old can keep developing at the same rate, the club will have a serious prospect on their hands in the next couple of years.