Nunez opens up on ‘difficult’ adaptation at Liverpool

Darwin Nunez has opened up on his ‘difficult’ adaptation to the Premier League and his desire to improve at Liverpool.

Nunez signed for Liverpool from Benfica last summer in a deal that could reach a club-record £85m with add-ons, but has had a mixed first season in English football.

The 23-year-old has scored just five league goals for the Reds so far this season and admits he has been surprised with the strength of the Premier League.


Nunez has been impressed with the level across the division and says the Premier League is ‘more competitive’ than he had been used to in Portugal.

“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 [the former Manchester City defender and his team-mate at Benfica] told me that, but I still didn’t expect it.

“It has impressed me a lot. There are no bad teams. They are all in this league for a reason. The football is more difficult than in Portugal and more competitive. You don’t get much time.”

Nunez discussed his relationship with Jurgen Klopp and the demands the Liverpool manager has placed on him. A language barrier has prevented clear communication between the duo, with Spanish-speaking assistant Pep Lijnders having acted as a translator as Nunez gets to grip with English.

“I think he wants to see what he saw in Benfica,” Nunez said on Klopp. “For example in the games I played against Liverpool [in the Champions League last season], when I performed very well.

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

“Klopp knows my strength is my speed, running into space. Also, he tells me that I need to be more calm when I’m playing, and that I need to move more. He tells me that I need that, and that I am a player with a lot of quality. So, that’s more or less what he wants from me – and, of course, that I score goals.”

Nunez has scored ten goals in 15 starts across all competitions for Liverpool this season, but has been accused of being wasteful around goal. No player has missed more ‘big chances’ during the current campaign, while the Uruguayan has hit the woodwork on more occasions than any other player.

However, the 23-year-old is taking encouragement from compatriot and ex-Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, who followed a modest first season with an explosive return at Anfield. Nunez is confident that with ‘a bit of luck’ he can soon find his goalscoring groove on Merseyside.

“Obviously, I still have many things to work on, for example my finishing. But I think the same thing is happening to me as happened to Suarez. In his second year, he tore it up.

“Something similar happened to me already at Benfica. The first year went very badly for me and in the second, I exploded. Here, I think the same thing is happening. I hope next season will be like that. I’ll put my best forward and hopefully I’ll get a bit of luck.”

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