Jurgen Klopp claimed Darwin Nunez shut up his critics in the best possible way after his Liverpool career exploded into life.
The Reds made Nunez their blockbuster transfer of the summer window, shelling out £64.2million to sign the former Benfica striker. In fact, with add-ons the Uruguayan could become the most expensive player in Anfield history.
Arriving with the unenviable task of filling the boots of Sadio Mane, Nunez will be expected to hit the ground running, despite next season being just his third in European football. Klopp had warned that it could take the 23-year-old a little bit of time to adapt, as has been seen with many of his signings over the years.
That didn’t stop the striker coming in for some unfair criticism after he failed to find the net in his first two appearances for the club. The Reds boss was forced to address perceived concerns about his big-money signing, saying that judgement from fans was of no interest to him.
And that strong response has been immediately justified with Nunez putting RB Leipzig to the sword and netting a stunning four-goal haul. Having started on the bench, Liverpool ’s new striker replaced Roberto Firmino after the half-time break,
And less than five minutes after his introduction Nunez scored his first goal for the club, coming from the penalty spot, He then doubled his tally three minutes later, before completing a 20-minute treble.
His perfect evening was then rounded off with a fourth in injury time with Liverpool running out 5-0 winners against their Bundesliga opponents. Speaking after the win, Klopp admitted that with his price tag, Nunez may have been feeling some pressure, but responded in perfect fashion.
Jurgen Klopp couldn’t contain his delight at Darwin Nunez’s stunning performance for Liverpool
“We always think that if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure or whatever,” Klopp said. “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.”
Klopp also paid tribute to Mohamed Salah who selflessly allowed his new team-mate to take the spot-kick and get off the mark. “Mo gives Darwin the penalty and Darwin, Pandora’s box was open. That’s of course a perfect night for him.”
Liverpool now head to their training camp in Austria and Klopp has warned his players there is still plenty of work to be done ahead of the Premier League kick-off in just over two weeks’ time.
“We need that time now,” he added. “We are not even close to where we want to be physically. We have to get there.
“The weather and everything is difficult, it will be difficult in Austria as well. It’s good. We have to get through this, we have to work extremely hard and then we will be fine. The most important part of pre-season starts now.”