Gary Neville believes Darwin Nunez can become a “world class” striker for Liverpool as his form in front of goal continues to be criticised.
Nunez is under mounting pressure at Liverpool following his £85m move from Benfica in June.
The Uruguay international has shown promise since that move but has missed plenty of opportunities to improve a goal record which has seen him score five in 12 Premier League games.
That tally pales in comparison to Erling Haaland, who joined fierce rivals Manchester City in the summer and already has 21 league goals to his name.
But Neville is confident Nunez can become one of Europe’s top strikers.
He told Sky Sports: “When you seen him cut across Faes, I thought that was devastating. It’s a fine line. He’s a handful, he doesn’t score the goals but if he does score the goals, he’ll be world class. I’ve got a feeling he could end up being that world class striker.
“Physically, I think he [Nunez] will mature. If you look at Haaland’s body, he’ll always be bigger and stronger but he will get bigger and stronger the more mature, the more older he plays in this league.
“I think it will just start to happen, he’ll start scoring and scoring, particularly if Liverpool keep adding and adding good players. I’m 70 per cent [sure] he will go on to be a top striker in this league and become one of the very best in the world.”
Jamie Carragher added: “I think it’s exactly what we’ve seen, when you’re saying your happy with those performances because you’re thinking if he can score imagine how good the performance would be… At the moment he’s a handful, but to make that next step to be a top class, world class striker, he needs to score.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp compared Nunez to Robert Lewandowski, who scored just nine goals in his debut season under the German at Borussia Dortmund, before finding the net on 30 occasions the following season.
Klopp said: “There are a lot of similarities to be honest. I think Lewy would tell the same story. We had shooting sessions where he didn’t finish off one.
“We had bets all the time for €10, ‘If you score more than 10 times, I will pay you 10 – if you don’t, you have to pay me’. My pocket was full of money! It’s all about staying calm. When you see the potential, stay calm.”
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