'I've told him already' - Arne Slot makes emphatic Darwin Nunez statement as Liverpool future clarified

-Credit: (Image: Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Arne Slot says he is excited to work with Darwin Nunez and revealed he has already spoken to the No.9 about his role at Liverpool this coming season.

Nunez scored 18 goals and claimed 13 assists for the Reds last term but went 10 appearances without registering in the closing weeks of the campaign as Jurgen Klopp's side saw their Premier League title challenge falter.

The Uruguay international started just one of the final seven matches and took the decision to remove all Liverpool-related images off his social media accounts after the 4-2 win over Tottenham in early May, leading to brief speculation of unrest at the time.

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However, Nunez has been in form with his national side, scoring in two of Uruguay's three Copa America games so far in victories over Panama and Bolivia and the former Benfica striker has 10 in his last eight for Marcelo Bielsa's side.

Slot says he has already outlined where he sees Nunez's fitting into a new tactical system going forward as he awaits the South American's return to club football later this summer.

"I assume he will fit really well into this (playing style) because I like him," Slot said. "I’ve told him already. He is one of the players I have spoken to. He might have had some struggles with finishing opportunities but he came a lot of times into those positions.

"I think he could fit in really well but it’s normal at a club like this that there are many more players who could play in his position. It’s clear for him which position he is going to play.

"It’s clear for me as well and me telling him made it clear for him. I just told him that, from what I saw, he played multiple positions and what positions – or position – I see him playing."

Slot also joked that pleas to release Liverpool's players early from international squads were roundly rejected by national FAs but is not concerned with any theories about having to play catch-up when his key men return to their club before the start of the new term next month.

"We called every national team manager and asked if we could have the players before the tournaments but they all said no!" laughed Slot. "Every manager has this challenge. The managers of United, City and Chelsea all have this challenge.

"It’s true (they are not all starting at a new club). You could see that as a disadvantage but not as an excuse. We will have many of them in earlier but there might be a few, hopefully the ones who play for Holland, who will come in the latest.

"I don’t take over from a manager were I have to change the playing style completely. At my former club Feyenoord I would say the playing style back then was completely different to the style I wanted to implement.

"Now there are a lot of similarities but of course I am not a clone of Jurgen. We will have some differences and I think the players will see them but also some similarities as well.

"The good thing is after the first game we have a few normal (free) weeks so pre-season can continue into the pre-season, not in the way of results – don’t get me wrong it’s not an excuse to not win the first ones – but there is some training time afterwards. Ideally I would have started in a season when there were no Euros and no Copa America but that’s not the situation and you have to take it the way it is."