Liverpool recruitment team wanted to sign £52m Chelsea star instead of Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Goodison Park on April 24, 2024 in Liverpool, England

Jurgen Klopp reportedly pushed Liverpool to sign Darwin Nunez despite claims that the club's recruitment team identified Christopher Nkunku as a better option.

Nunez arrived at Anfield in June 2022 in a deal which could rise to £85million, potentially making him the club's most expensive signing. The striker has scored 33 goals in 92 appearances across all competitions since arriving on Merseyside.

And Klopp reportedly campaigned for the signing of Nunez with the Reds ultimately going ahead with his wish. But according to claims in The Times, the recruitment team at Liverpool believed that then-RB Leipzig forward Nkunku was a better option.

READ MORE: FSG must ensure that one thing is not missing if Arne Slot to Liverpool is to succeed

READ MORE: Liverpool reach agreement with Feyenoord to make Arne Slot their new manager

Nkunku went on to join Chelsea for a reported £52m fee in July 2023, agreeing on a six-year deal. However, the French forward has struggled badly with injuries during his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge, having made just 10 appearances for the Blues since his Premier League debut in December.

Klopp has repeatedly backed Nunez, insisting he is happy with the 24-year-old's development. "The big difference between Darwin last year and this year is that he is completely settled," Klopp said in December.

"The [4-3 win against Fulham on December 3) was a good example, one chance could have done better and the other he is doing everything right and it's about an inch - Trent's [Trent Alexander-Arnold] ball crossbar, hits [Bernd] Leno and goes in - his ball, crossbar and out, so where is the difference?

"He has all these moments and his understanding, involvement in the third goal is so important, he stays in the games, he's super positive in and around the game. He was a little bit aggressive in the wrong way at the beginning, now he is aggressive in the right way. I am really happy with what I see in the moment and the rest will come, we are completely calm.

"Could he have scored more goals? Yes, of course. Could he have had more situations? I don't think so, he has all the moments and now we have to work on the last touch."