Darwin Núñez needs just one thing to change at Liverpool as Jürgen Klopp makes 'unlucky' claim

A close-up of Darwin Núñez in action for Liverpool.
Liverpool forward Darwin Núñez. -Credit:Photo by sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

After a poor cameo against Tottenham on Sunday and then subsequent rumors about his future, Darwin Núñez has been in the news this week. The Uruguayan managed just five touches in his 15-minute appearance against Spurs while missing a huge chance, making zero accurate passes and being offside twice.

He is generally brilliant or ineffective with little in between but there is a player there still to be unlocked. And that last stat is especially key to the problems Núñez has had since joining the club: the striker just cannot seem to keep onside in the crucial moments. Núñez tops the Premier League for most offsides (32) and also the most offsides per 90 (1.43).

It gets even worse when you see that Chelsea’s Nicholas Jackson, who is second on the list, is five offsides behind him, meaning Núñez is likely to finish the season as the player who has been caught by the assistant referees the most. Another example is Fulham forward Willian who has played 2,008 minutes compared to Núñez’s 2,011 so far this season. However, the Brazilian has just 11 offsides, which is 21 fewer.

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"There is no speculation," Jürgen Klopp said during his press conference when asked where he saw Núñez's future lying. "That must be external speculation. It's just a situation we are in. Darwin was definitely not happy missing that chance [against Tottenham]. He was unlucky in so many situations where he is doing everything right, and the ball still doesn't go in."

As well as scoring more goals and becoming more ruthless, though, simply being onside more often would make a significant difference to his game. In terms of Liverpool forwards, Luis Díaz is second on the list (and 10th in the league) with 16 offsides, half of what Núñez has.

He is on 0.58 offsides per 90 minutes, which is far less than the Uruguayan despite Diaz playing one game more this season. Third is Mohamed Salah (20th in the league) with 14 offsides and 0.53 offsides per 90, while fourth is Cody Gakpo way down the league list in 49th with only eight offsides and 0.48 offsides per 90.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Jurgen Klopp the head coach / manager of Liverpool consoles a dejected Darwin Nunez of Liverpool after his teams 2-0 loss during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Goodison Park on April 24, 2024 in Liverpool, England.(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp speaks to Darwin Nunez after Liverpool's Merseyside derby defeat at Everton last month -Credit:Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Gakpo is the ultimate comparison here as he has four times fewer offsides than Núñez despite playing just one game fewer. However, despite playing a similar number of games, Gakpo only has 12 Premier League goal contributions while Núñez has a whopping 19 so far this season. This means that despite Liverpool’s number nine squandering a ton of chances to either assist or score due to his mistimed runs in behind, he still produces more than Gakpo in front of goal.

The most recent example of Núñez being let down by his early runs came in the game against Tottenham as the game went into stoppage time. A nice ball over the top put him clean through with only a simple pass to Salah needed to make it 5-2, but as Núñez could not hold his run, it was ruled out instantly.

If he solved his offside dilemma, he could have ended his poor form with a fabulous assist, something you feel is a running narrative in a lot of games since he signed for the club. It is chances such as these that lead to frustration, but it should be a simple enough fix.