Darwin Nunez isn't the first Liverpool signing that Jurgen Klopp and club hierarchy disagreed on

Before his social media deleting spree, Darwin Nunez had already made recent headlines with Liverpool.

First suffering a muscle injury against Brentford in February, which ruled him out of the League Cup final, and then carrying a further issue into the March international break as he withdrew from Uruguay duty, the striker arguably hasn’t looked the same for the Reds since.

While he boasts an impressive total of 18 goals and 13 assists from 52 appearances this season, the 24-year-old has scored just once from his last 11 outings - and that inadvertently went in off his backside when chasing down the goalkeeper against Sheffield United.

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Producing a number of glaring misses in recent weeks, his form and finishing abilities have come under increasing scrutiny. Losing his place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI as a result, he has started just one of Liverpool’s last five matches.

With the German stepping down as manager this summer, Nunez’s long-term future at Anfield has also been called into question. After all, reports last month, off the back of his recent performances, offered a reminder of how the striker had actually been a ‘Klopp signing’ with the club’s recruitment team instead favouring Christopher Nkunku.

While Liverpool would opt for Nunez, bringing him in from Benfica in a deal worth up to a club-record £85m in June 2022 after a 34-goal season for the Portuguese giants, Nkunku ended up staying at RB Leipzig for a further year. After scoring 35 goals in 2021/22, he would follow it up with a further 23 goals last season to earn an eventual move to the Premier League.

Yet signing for Chelsea in a £52m deal, injuries have limited him to just 11 appearances and two goals from his first season at Stamford Bridge. Consequently, even taking into consideration Nunez’s frustrations over the past two years, the 33-goal forward is still not to be sniffed at, with the club hardly rushing to rue Klopp’s decision despite recent scrutiny.

Of course, the signing of Nunez wasn’t the first time the German and Liverpool’s recruitment team had differing views when it came to would-be signings. The most famous example is obviously Mohamed Salah, with Reds staff winning out on that occasion as they convinced Klopp that the Egyptian was the player for them despite his own preference to sign Julian Brandt.

Liverpool memorably tried to sign the 28-year-old ahead of Salah, only for the German to reject the Reds in favour of staying at Bayer Leverkusen, opting not to move on before the 2018 World Cup.

“My gut feeling and my head are telling me the time to move has not arrived yet,” Brandt explained to Kicker at the time. “I have to straighten things out in Leverkusen.

“Of course there are players who say a year without European football before the World Cup is good reason to move. But if you move to a bigger club a year before the World Cup, you risk taking time at first to settle which possibly means playing fewer games.”

He would later join Borussia Dortmund for £21.7m after they activated his release clause in May 2019, little over a week before Salah was scoring for Liverpool in Madrid as they beat Tottenham to win the Champions League.

Boasting 211 goals, 87 assists, and every major honour going from 347 appearances over the past seven seasons, Liverpool, Salah, Klopp, and their recruitment team have not looked back since their ‘lucky escape’.

In contrast, Brandt has returned 61 goals and 74 assists from 295 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund over the same period and has only one DFB-Pokal to his name. Such numbers don’t even come close to one of the Reds’ greatest ever players.

While four years Salah’s junior, Liverpool, who never resurrected their interest, will have no regrets. And as talk now ramps up regarding the Egyptian’s Anfield future and a possible long-term replacement, given his contract expires in 2025, Brandt remains unlikely to re-emerge on their radar - especially considering Klopp’s looming exit.

However, the 28-year-old is eyeing an historic end to the season after helping fire Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final later this month.

It was Brandt who set up Mats Hummels' winning goal in the second leg of their semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain as Dortmund won 2-0 on aggregate to set up a final clash with Real Madrid. He now boasts a goal and three assists from six appearances in this season's knock-out stages, having also scored in the quarter-final victory over Atletico Madrid and set up goals against both the Spaniards and PSV Eindhoven in the round-of-16.

His overall returns from the current season currently stand at nine goals and 16 assists from 44 appearances, having registered 10 goals and nine assists from 42 outings last year as Dortmund missed out on the Bundesliga title in agonising fashion on the final day of the campaign.

Brandt will inevitably hope that the current season has a happier ending, as it looks to follow in the footsteps of both Salah and Liverpool by getting his hands on the famous Champions League trophy.

Meanwhile, back at Anfield and the AXA Training Centre, Liverpool’s recruitment team can afford themselves a small smile after persuading Klopp that Salah was the man for them after Brandt’s rejection seven years ago. He has still enjoyed a respectable career since that transfer snub, but it just doesn’t compare to the fortunes of the Reds’ English, European, and World champion Egyptian King.

How different the Liverpool fortunes could have been over the past seven years had the German said yes to their advances and joined ahead of Salah instead. When the time does come to choose a replacement for the long-serving forward, Reds bosses can only hope they are able to strike such gold again.