Arne Slot given Darwin Nunez ultimatum as next Liverpool manager sent clear transfer message

Darwin Nunez of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Goodison Park on April 24, 2024
Defoe has explained what separates Jota from Nunez and Salah -Credit:Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Former Premier League forward Jermaine Defoe has suggested that Liverpool could 'fall behind' Manchester City and Arsenal if Darwin Nunez continues to lead the frontline.

The 24-year-old has been heavily linked with an exit from Anfield recently following some disappointing performances. Nunez, who sees his contract expire in 2028, has featured 34 times for the Reds in the Premier League this season, netting 11 and setting up eight.

Despite tallying a respectable return in the final third, the Uruguay international hasn't chipped in with a goal or assist in his last five outings. It's not the first time Nunez has endured a barren run, going eight games without finding the net during the festive period.

READ MORE: 'Worst player on the pitch' – Szoboszlai makes honest admission about Liverpool criticism

READ MORE: Klopp leaves Liverpool perfect parting gift as 'next Odegaard' transfer vindicated

The frontman hasn't been solely to blame for Liverpool's fall in the title race, but there have been numerous occasions where his finishing has been scrutinised. Ultimately, Jurgen Klopp's side have dropped crucial points over the last couple of weeks.

Speaking to Premier League Productions, Defoe assessed the Reds' striking options ahead of the summer transfer window. He named Diogo Jota as the best finisher at Liverpool, before explaining exactly what separates the Portugal international from Nunez and Mohamed Salah.

He said: "I think Jota is probably the best finisher. He actually finishes, like calculated finishes. Salah and Núñez, they shoot if that makes sense.

"They don’t finish. Even Núñez, in the last action when he went through on goal, the obvious solution was to go around the goalkeeper and then pass it into an empty net.

"But, for whatever reason, he tries to dink it over him. It’s the wrong thing to do in that situation. The chances, when it comes consistently, like week after week and game after game and you are missing all these chances, then you are competing against teams like Man City and Arsenal that get these chances and players are converting these chances. Then you are going to fall behind."