Liverpool’s $64 million acquisition provided the ideal rebuttal to absurd comparisons to Andy Carroll.
Darwin Nunez has already played three games for Liverpool and is effectively up and running.
Definitely bad news for the trolls and the accounts that engage in “football banter” on social media. They can put their Andy Carroll parallels, GIFs, and memes on hold, at least for a few days.
But there is good news for Jurgen Klopp. Even though it is only the preseason, the Reds manager’s smile is back, which can only be bad news for his rivals.
Nunez scored four goals as Liverpool smashed RB Leipzig 5-0 on Thursday night, giving him his first goal for the club. “He unlocked the box of Pandora!” exclaimed Klopp.
How foolish the Uruguayan’s detractors must feel right now. It used to be claimed that new hires should be allowed six or nine months to adjust to their new club, but in the age of Twitter, where judgments are made instantly, definitively, and frequently in the most absurd ways, that will never be the case.
The keyboard warriors only needed an hour of football to declare the £64 million ($75.5 million) player a failure for failing to score in 30-minute run-outs against Manchester United and Crystal Palace.
The typical accounts were rife with it, posting “compilations” of Nunez’s errors, and the term “Carroll” was trending as rival supporters likened the newcomer to another high-profile Reds recruit who only managed 11 goals for the team before being sold at a significant loss.
You’ll agree that it’s all pretty stupid, but Nunez recognized the criticism. After the Palace game last week, he tweeted “Resiliencia,” concluding with a “shush” emoji.
Resiliencia 🤫 pic.twitter.com/e90QJAdpc7
— Darwin Núñez (@Darwinn99) July 15, 2022
Even professional football players are only human, therefore it’s probably not a good idea to pay heed to those who demand it. Nunez, at least, was confident he would have the opportunity to refute his critics on the field.
In Leipzig, he carried it out. He replaced Roberto Firmino at the break and scored a hat-trick in the next 23 minutes before scoring his fourth goal and Liverpool’s fifth in the dying seconds.
At the final whistle, Klopp gave one of his famous hugs and remarked, “The perfect night for him.
Nunez’s first goal was scored from the penalty spot after Leipzig goalkeeper Janis Blaswich had brought down Luis Diaz.
Although Mohamed Salah, who had scored the opening goal of the game, usually takes the shot, the Egyptian let his new teammate convert this one instead, which was a decent gesture that was undoubtedly observed and appreciated.
Klopp said, “I’m not sure if being generous as hell is a clause in his new contract, but I’m sure Salah and Nunez will be thrilled to watch the ball soar into the corner of the net via Blaswich’s fingertips.”
Silencing the haters with four goals 🤫 pic.twitter.com/z7Xjpss3pF
— GOAL (@goal) July 21, 2022
Yes, it was only a polite exchange, but a miss undoubtedly would have attracted more unwelcome attention.
As is frequently the case, one goal quickly led to two. After winning possession of the ball high up the field three minutes later, Trent Alexander-Arnold released Nunez, who finished precisely with his right foot.
At the halfway point of the second half, the hat-trick was scored.
In the final third, Stefan Bajcetic—remember that name?—won possession of the ball and sent it to Harvey Elliott, whose low cross was slipped in by Nunez inside the six-yard box.
The type of goal that center-forwards always hope to score, it got Phil Thompson in the LFCTV studio thinking about former Liverpool poachers Ian Rush and John Aldridge.
Alongside Thompson, Jason McAteer made a slightly different analogy.
The former Reds full-back remarked, “He kind of reminds me of [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.
As one might anticipate, Klopp’s remarks were a little more restrained.
After the game, he noted that “he’s a different striker from what we have, or what we had.” However, he is a really good one.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 21, 2022