On Sunday, Liverpool witnessed an emergence. A fraught game, packed with energy, passion and controversy was being played out against Newcastle United at a packed St James’ Park. Liverpool found themselves against the ropes, a goal down, a player down, the captain lost, and the club needed a hero…up stepped Darwin Nunez.Embed from Getty Images
Darwin Nunez has been something of an enigmatic presence in the Liverpool squad since he arrived from Benfica in 2022. Commanding a huge fee, the Uruguayan’s signature created huge excitement on Merseyside, in a summer that saw League rivals, Manchester City, bring in a certain Erling Haaland.
Jurgen Klopp and supporters alike had already seen, first hand, what the forward could do, having witnessed the club struggle to manage the busy forward both home and away vs. Benfica in the Champions League. Klopp was hooked, any possible hesitation that he was the new face to spearhead Liverpool’s forward line, was seemingly abolished.
So who was this New Kid on The Block, Nunez had come from nowhere, only a goal-ladened season brought him to a wider audience, Who was Liverpool investing in, What was the package?Embed from Getty Images
Darwin Nunez was a man from very humble beginnings, growing up in Artigas, Uruguay to a hard-working family with very little. Nunez found himself developing a trade, in the streets of Artigas, with his feet. Darwin started to run out for local sides, before finally being spotted by Penarol, seeing a 14-year-old Nunez, move to Montevideo.
He comes from a very close family, and ultimately had struggles with homesickness, resulting in the youngster returning to Artigas to be with his loved ones, only to return to Montevideo and Penarol a year later.
14 League appearances and a return of 4 goals for Penarol, was enough to be getting interest from overseas and it was Spanish Segunda Division’s, Almeria, that brought him to Europe in 2019. Nunez spent a solitary season with the club, scoring 16 goals in 30 games.
Portugal was waiting, and it was Benfica with their arms open to greet the 6ft 2” striker, delighted to be welcoming a player with so much potential and raw talent, a player they could see leading their Strikeforce for years to come. However, it became a season of settling for the new €24 million man. It was the 21-22 season that Nunez exploded onto the scene and into the minds of clubs and managers across Europe, The striker missed the start of the season, following ankle surgery, however upon his return, he hit the ground running and never looked back.
Blessed with pace, power and an eye for goal, he was greeted with huge excitement from the Liverpool fan base, following the loss of Star Man Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich. Other than goals, supporters were not sure what else to expect.
Nunez has experienced mixed fortunes for Liverpool since his arrival, an early red card perhaps proving a set-back, although a return of 11 League goals in 32 appearances, wasn’t to be scoffed at for his debut campaign. A campaign that was set out and labelled in the media as Haaland vs. Nunez, an additional and unneeded pressure.Embed from Getty Images
One thing beyond question is the striker’s endeavour,; never does he cease to move, probe and chase. Always offering a run-in behind the defence, a constant menace to defenders, a Captain of Chaos, if you like. He has, naturally, been the recipient of some criticism, some questioning his decision-making at times, his first touch has been spoken about, on occasion too. What is beyond any doubt, though, is there is limitless amounts of potential in those boots. A very raw diamond, that, by evidence of Sunday night, is showing signs of polish. Far from being the finished article, he is a man who has quickly tethered the hearts of the Anfield faithful, an entire fanbase willing this potential to be fully unleashed, Liverpool wants a hero number 9, Eddie Howe and Newcastle United have discovered, Liverpool may just have unleashed him.