Jurgen Klopp says he was “all-in” once he saw the “massively impressive” Darwin Nunez live against his Liverpool side last season.
Nunez arrived at Anfield last month, signing from Benfica for a club-record £85m on a six-year contract.
The Uruguay international was not on the club’s radar until Klopp saw him in the Champions League in April. The attacker scored in Benfica’s 3-1 defeat to the Reds in Lisbon.
He also netted in the 3-3 draw at Anfield and had another two goals disallowed.
Those two performances were enough to convince Klopp to try and sign the 23-year-old. Whether he was already on the radar of Manchester United by then is unclear. But the player was only mentioned as a target for United until last month.
At the start of June The Times and The Athletic reported that Liverpool would have to pay a club-record £85m to sign Nunez. And those reports proved correct at the Reds moved quickly to get a deal done ahead of United.
“It was massively impressive when he played in front of us,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc..
“When you prepare Benfica, you know up to the size of shoes – we know absolutely everything about an opponent, so we know exactly about the quality of Darwin.
“It was not clear if he would play because he came back from internationals, in the first game that was. It was clear that he was really good. But when you see it then live, it was really impressive.
“The power and the mix-up with technique, the desire, smart moves, the problems he caused us. We fell all in love in these two games. A very aggressive South American, it’s a good thing!
“It was really a joy to watch him and so when we realised we had a good chance to sign him, we were all-in and we’re really happy he’s here now.”
The club’s new No.27 will join up with Liverpool this weekend as they prepare to depart for a tour of Thailand and Singapore.
Meanwhile, Klopp has revealed fellow new signing Calvin Ramsay has not yet trained with the club.
Ramsey injury picked up
The Scottish full-back was scheduled to start pre-season training this week, but his medical picked up a minor injury.
“Unfortunately, Calvin is now not training with us in the moment, he has a little injury. Nobody knew, we found it when he did his medical check. Until today he has no problems but the medical department tells us if we don’t take care for that now, he will have a problem in the future.
“So, when you are that young then of course he has a long career ahead of him, so we are very responsible in these moments, so he didn’t train yet with the team but is doing a lot of fitness work. It will not take too long I think.
“So I didn’t see him yet in training but everything we saw about him, we heard about him, I heard from him: a fantastic boy. And what a player he is, what he did for Aberdeen last year, absolutely exceptional.
“In his age group and you know the things we need from a full-back. He is as close as it gets to the things we want and is still a kid. So we really expect a lot from him in the long term,” added Klopp.
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