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Jurgen Klopp referenced the fervent criticism Darwin Nunez has already received after silencing the doubters against RB Leipzig, while Joel Matip fired a warning to those the Uruguayan will come up against.
Few players have come in for such close attention in pre-season as Darwin Nunez in recent times. On Thursday evening, the Uruguayan gave the dissenting voices plenty to see.
Mohamed Salah put the Reds one up but from then on, it was the Darwin Nunez show.
The 23-year-old opened his Liverpool account in pre-season with a penalty before a superb clinical finish doubled his tally less than three minutes later.
Nunez continued to show excellent movement inside the area and when he called, the service came.
Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho both gave Klopp something to think about with virtuoso second-half displays. The pair each provided an assist for Nunez to notch his third and fourth goalsas Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners in Germany.
Speaking after the match, Klopp joked on the decision to let Nunez take the penalty: “Mo (Salah), I’m not sure if it’s in his new contract but he was generous as hell to give Darwin the penalty!”
The decision to let Nunez take the penalty was likely down to giving the striker a confidence boost upon opening his account. When the same situation arises next season, Salah will almost certainly be the one with ball in hand.
On the resounding victory in general, Klopp said (via Liverpool’s official website): “I would have bought it actually. It’s really nice.
“You see everything. First half – good moments, lesser-good moments, not enough movement, we need to get used to how hard it is to play 50, 60, 70 minutes – and in the end 90 or 120.
“The human body is like this, you need to get used to it again. When we struggled a little bit it was always after three minutes’ break we played football again, then a deep breather and play football again. And I wanted us to be a bit more hard with ourselves, go over that point, it’s pre-season, and move more.
“I think we did that second half obviously. Hendo came on, Millie – they both were lively. Hendo all of a sudden as an eight, went in behind and we created chances.
“Then Mo gives Darwin the penalty and Darwin, Pandora’s box was open. That’s of course a perfect night for him.”
Klopp gives Nunez a piece of advice
Nunez came in for a barrage of criticism after his first two pre-season displays. In response, Klopp suggested the Uruguayan – and all modern-day professionals – should steer clear of the toxic noise generated online.
“We always think that if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure or whatever,” continued Klopp.
“They are all completely normal human beings and the first touch is not perfect then all of a sudden… This generation of players read social media, which is really not smart, but they do.
“All of a sudden you get in a rush and these kinds of things. That’s the best way obviously to stop all these discussions.
“He’s a different striker to what we have or what we had, but he’s a really good one.”
Joel Matip added to the Nunez praise when claiming opposition defences will be in for an almighty shock next season.
“I think everybody is really happy for him and were looking for him [in the dressing room],” said the centre-half.
“Great finish, great speed and the body he always puts in, I think it will be really difficult for our opponents.”
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