Darwin Nunez truth emerges about Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp exit video controversy

Darwin Nunez of Liverpool during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield on May 19 2024

Not for the first time this season, it appeared something of a missed opportunity for Darwin Nunez.

As the Liverpool players and staff heartily applauded Jurgen Klopp striding through the guard of honour following his final game in charge of the Reds on Sunday, Nunez was conspicuous in keeping his hands clasped close to his body.

It wouldn't have been particularly notable had Nunez then not repeated his stance when Klopp sprinted back to take the acclaim for a second time.

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Or if a pre-match video showing Klopp's final teamtalk inside the home dressing room at Anfield had not seen the Uruguayan striker appearing somewhat disinterested.

Combining those factors, and that Nunez spent a fair amount of the post-match time on the pitch with family away from the majority of his team-mates, was sufficient for some Liverpool supporters to deduce the Reds striker was showing every sign of being deeply unhappy with life at Anfield - and at the very least guilty of showing a poor attitude and lack of respect towards the departing manager.

Given it was only a fortnight since Nunez wiped all Liverpool-related images from his social media accounts having been the target of abuse after some indifferent performances, the direction of travel was all pointing towards the player and club heading for a mutual parting of ways. Enough, it seemed, was enough.

Then emerged a video clip from the party at the Titanic hotel on Sunday evening to mark the leaving of Klopp and others who are departing in the summer. And there was Nunez, pushing the Liverpool boss into centre stage and encouraging him to dance while surrounded by a number of his colleagues including Luis Diaz, Alexis Mac Allister and Stefan Bajcetic.

Hardly the sign of someone massively at odds with Klopp. And with Nunez having now changed his profile photograph on Instagram to an image of himself with his family all donned in the new Liverpool home jersey, it appears concerns over dissent should be allayed.

But not, though, entirely dismissed.

Nunez is almost as emotional a soul as Klopp, reflected in his all-action performances on the field that wasted no time in making him a favourite among supporters.

That relationship, however, became strained as a number of missed Nunez chances proved costly during the Premier League run-in as Liverpool's unlikely championship challenge began to falter terminally. The patience at the Uruguayan's ongoing ability to spurn presentable opportunities wore thin, leading to the abuse that followed him having failed to net late on in the 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month.

Hence the misplaced intrigue over the body language and actions of Nunez during Klopp's final day.

Regardless, there are obvious worries for the forward. For the second season in succession, he has ended the campaign largely on the sidelines having been usurped by Cody Gakpo as the attacking spearhead, starting just one of the final seven games. Last term, it was two of the final 10 having missed the last three through injury.

Nunez this season managed a creditable 18 goals and 13 assists in 54 appearances in all competitions, but his last goal contribution came at Manchester United six weeks ago.

While the imminent arrival of Arne Slot will offer a clean slate for Nunez and the entire Liverpool squad regards any personal quibbles with now departed staff, the incoming manager will already be scouring video footage to gain a better grasp of the players he is about to inherit.

Nunez has long proven he has the ability to lead the Liverpool attack and has gained greater tactical discipline this season, no longer just the generator of chaos that thrilled and frustrated in equal measure. Consistency in terms of converting his big chances continues to elude him, however.

From Dean Saunders, Stan Collymore and Robbie Keane through to Mario Balotelli and Christian Benteke, history suggests faltering big-money forwards at Liverpool don't make it through to a third season at Anfield. With any possible gripes with Klopp now irrelevant, the first impression Nunez makes on Slot could go a long way to determining whether he ultimately joins that list.