Darwin Nunez reality clear for Liverpool as Copa America points to Arne Slot task

Darwin Nunez in action for Uruguay.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The analysis and general feeling around Darwin Nunez at Liverpool can often be as erratic as his finishing. One minute he's about to explode. The next, he should be sold because he isn't good enough.

In reality, of course, the truth about Nunez lies somewhere in between, and Liverpool will not be giving up on the Uruguayan ahead of Arne Slot's first campaign in charge. It will be up to the Dutch coach to get the best out of the 25-year-old No. 9 he inherits.

Alongside the likes of Cody Gakpo, it certainly feels like Nunez is someone who still has more to offer at Anfield. The hope will be that a fresh start and some slightly different tactics can help bring the most out of him.

READ MORE: Darwin Nunez just inadvertently handed Arne Slot and Liverpool a boost after Copa America win
READ MORE: Liverpool transfer news LIVE: Anthony Gordon latest, Riccardo Calafiori race, Mohamed Salah contract

Nunez, of course, remains well-liked by Liverpool fans. Everyone wants him to do well and that is perhaps reflected in the optimistic hopes that he will continue his lightning scoring form for Uruguay when he returns to the club game.

But you can spin the facts however you want. On the one hand, Nunez has five goals in his last four appearances for Uruguay at international level. But on the other, he has missed chances — the only difference is you aren't seeing the misses plastered across social media to influence the mood music.

Against Panama on the opening day of the Copa America, Nunez scored a brilliant volley to seal the points for Marcelo Bielsa's side but he also missed a hatful of easier opportunities earlier in the same game. The shot that he scored was the hardest of the lot, which neatly encapsulates what he has been like for Liverpool in his two seasons to date.

In that particular 90 minutes, he only had 33 touches of the ball but missed two big chances and scored another. Against Bolivia, he scored but missed three big chances and then hit the woodwork. In the most recent match against the US, Nunez didn't score and was barely involved. It's been a mixed bag but with a glut of goals — not dissimilar, in truth, to lots of his spells with Liverpool.

Darwin Nunez challenges for a header while playing for Uruguay.
Liverpool and Uruguay forward Darwin Nunez. -Credit:Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

The reality is that not much has changed while he has been away with his national team. He might feel more at home with Uruguay but his finishing is not drastically different there than on Merseyside and the expectations ahead of next season should be drawn up accordingly.

While Nunez's scoring numbers are good, some of the efforts would not have beaten better goalkeepers. At the same time, he could easily have come away with no goals in some matches he did bag in — and the narrative would have been very different.

While it is clearly a positive that Nunez is scoring and having a good time with Uruguay at the Copa America, just because fewer Liverpool fans are seeing his misses doesn't mean they aren't still happening. When he returns for pre-season ahead of 2024/25, it remains a crucial campaign to determine where Nunez's Liverpool career is heading.