A pundit has urged Jurgen Klopp to leave Darwin Nunez out of the starting eleven for Liverpool and bring in new signing Cody Gakpo.
Nunez has started in all four of Liverpool’s matches since the end of the World Cup. Klopp appears desperate to get the best out of him after the Reds spent a club-record £85million to sign the striker from Benfica in the summer.
However, Nunez has been guilty of missing plenty of big chances in recent weeks. And this has not helped Liverpool at all.
Klopp’s men were knocked out of the Carabao Cup, being beaten 3-2 by Manchester City on December 22.
They responded to that defeat with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League, before beating Leicester in their next outing.
But Liverpool were on the receiving end of another loss recently as Brentford pulled off a shock by beating them 3-1.
Klopp is expected to make several changes when Liverpool play Wolves in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
And former Aston Villa player Gabby Agbonlahor has told the German to leave Nunez out, as his missed chances cannot be good for his confidence. Agbonlahor wants new arrival Gakpo to start up front instead.
Pundit urges Liverpool fans to give Nunez time
“I do like Nunez, but I think he needs a season to get going,” the pundit said during an interview with Football Insider.
“I think he could do with coming out of the firing line for the next couple of games. Gakpo could come in and give the team a hand.
“The longer he keeps missing these chances, it can’t be good for his confidence.
“He’s missing these massive chances at the moment, and he needs to learn how to time his runs better. He needs that drilled into him on the training ground.
“[Nunez] can give any defender a yard, he’s that quick. He doesn’t need to be offside.
“He’s got a lot of work to do on the training ground in order to get up to speed in this league, and I think we may only see the best of him from next season.”
Klopp facing striker headache
Klopp is certainly in an intriguing predicament regarding Nunez. If he drops him from the starting eleven, then this will make Liverpool look like they have wasted their money.
But if he continues to play Nunez and the Uruguayan misses more huge chances, then the criticism will only increase. And as Agbonlahor states, this could affect Nunez’s mentality.
It is probably the right thing if Klopp leaves him out this weekend. The FA Cup third round is not the biggest of games. So most managers are expected to make lots of changes anyway.
Liverpool fans would be excited to see Gakpo play instead of Nunez, too. The Dutchman could make his debut for the club against Wolves after joining for an initial £37m from PSV.
He has often played as a winger in the Netherlands, but he has all the attributes to develop into a top centre-forward.
Perhaps Gakpo getting his chance could give Nunez the push he needs to finally score some of those opportunities in the next few weeks.
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