'I'm starting to come around' - Michael Owen admits Darwin Nunez concern amid Liverpool exit rumours

Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez celebrates goal for Uruguay at Copa America.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Michael Owen admits he is unsure if Darwin Nunez can ever fulfill his full potential at Liverpool.

But the former striker has rejected claims that the coming season under Arne Slot is Nunez's last chance to prove himself at Anfield.

The forward followed up a 15-goal campaign in his debut season by firing 18 alongside 13 assists last time out, but went 10 games without registering in the final two months.

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Initially brought in as a £64m striker, it's believed Nunez has since triggered appearance-based add-ons to take his transfer up to £75m, making him a joint club-record addition alongside Virgil van Dijk, with further incentives based around silverware potentially taking that fee up to £85m in total.

Owen dismisses the theory that Nunez might be discarded if his output doesn't improve but conceded in a chat with AceOdds that the Uruguay international may have already reached his peak at the age of 25.

"I don't think [this is Nunez's last chance]," Owen said. "I think the only thing that you could say is that people really like him. People are really hopeful that he could turn into a top player because obviously, they see some attributes that are phenomenal and hard to teach. But I think if he continues like he is now, I think people will probably just accept that that's what he's going to be forever.

"When I first saw him, I thought, geez, he's raw. I expected it obviously. I knew his age, but I expected that of a younger player. That he’s going to learn more about the game and the role and things like that.

"But with his age, you think to yourself, well, if he’s not learned it by now and I've been saying it for a couple of years now, but probably I'm starting to think that what you see is what you get now. A talented boy who's got great attributes that will certainly have a big role to play for Liverpool.

"Two years ago, I thought this kid could be anything. I was so excited in a way to see what he could be. Now I'm starting to come around to thinking what we see is what we get."

On the appointment of Arne Slot as Jurgen Klopp's successor, Owen added: "No matter what happens, and it'll be the same when Pep Guardiola leaves or any top managers, it always happens and has always been the case. It's always going to be a comedown. It's simply impossible to say.

"Unless Pep Guardiola walked in through the door, then it's a comedown, isn't it from Jurgen Klopp. So, people have just got to get their heads around that. Back the new manager, hope that everything goes well, obviously, Liverpool fans will give him time and give him support and everything else like that. That's all that can happen. But as I say, unless Pep Guardiola walks through the door at Anfield, then it's going to be a come-down on Jurgen Klopp.

"I mean, anybody that has a massively strong opinion said: 'Oh, yeah, he's going to be a perfect match or he's going to be a total failure.' I mean, what can you say? It's going to be really interesting. We've seen other teams in the past in the Premier League have had a manager for a long period of time and it's probably, the stats are pointing against him.

"You would say, when Ferguson left, we all know what happened after that and it's still happening to this day. When Arsene Wenger left, it was not great for a good period of time, now they're just coming back.

"So, a lot of teams that have had a manager for a long period of time tend to struggle straight after. But that's not to say, two examples in the Premier League era aren’t sufficient to say, that's going to be exactly the same. So, who knows? But what you do know is that Jürgen Klopp was an incredible manager. That's going to be huge boots to fill.

"The main challenge? Expectation. You come into a club where there's no room for error really, winning the league or winning the Champions League or finishing second and winning a couple of cups or whatever it might be. I mean, there's not much room for error.

"Demands are high, expectations high, coming off the back of a great decade of football, not just football that's turned into trophies, but real amazing nights, amazing games, great style of play. I think the whole package really.

"You don't come to Liverpool and get an easy ride. In terms of now, the pressure's off. I mean, it ramps up another 10 levels probably. So, he's got loads of struggles, twists, turns, challenges and everything else everywhere he turns really. That's what comes with the title."

Nunez is currently with Uruguay at the Copa America and scored in a 3-1 win over Panama in their Monday opener.