To play every single game possible in a season nowadays seemed impossible for an English club, until Liverpool rewrote the history books last season.
It’s a feat that likely won’t happen again for some time. Although their disappointing end to the season left the Reds feeling a tad empty-handed that left the feat unappreciated.
Yes, Jurgen Klopp won the Carabao Cup and FA Cup for the first time but the reality is, for the big clubs, it’s all about the Premier League and Champions League.
Liverpool and their main rivals Manchester City are looking for tiny margins because they have world class players throughout their respective squads.
Both sides have nearly no weaknesses, although there was a clear trend for Liverpool last season which arguably cost them the Premier League title.
They failed to beat any of the top four sides in the league which suggests they are missing a big game player who could decide games. Those sorts of players are often goalscorers.
This is backed up by the fact that Liverpool failed to score in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals against Chelsea, needing penalties to overcome the Blues on both occasions.
Then, there’s the Champions League final when their high intensity style again proved less effective versus a clinical Real Madrid side.
As great as Liverpool’s forwards of Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and departee Sadio Mane were during last season, they rarely played at their very best in the big matches. Step forward Darwin Nunez.
DARWIN NUNEZ – THE MISSING INGREDIENT?
A club-record fee of £85m, Nunez joined Liverpool this summer from Benfica which was a surprise to many fans.
Whilst much focus was on Erling Haaland’s arrival at Manchester City and the on-going Cristiano Ronaldo saga at Manchester United, Liverpool put pen to paper with Nunez who signed a six-year deal.
The Uruguay international found the back of the net 34 times for Benfica last season and scored in both Champions League legs in their quarter-final defeat to Liverpool in April.
Nevertheless, Klopp was impressed by his calmness which is a trait Liverpool might have been missing in some of the big moments.
“A good-looking boy, huh?” said Klopp after the first leg tie. “A decent player as well! Really good, really good. I knew before, of course, but he played pretty much in front of me with his tough battles with Ibrahima Konate.
‘He was physically strong, quick, was calm around his finish. Good, really good. I always say in these situations if he is healthy, it’s a big career ahead of him.”
The Premier League will be a big step up for Nunez and his price tag means he will be targeted by fans every time he doesn’t perform.
Already, in pre-season, he was slammed on social media for failing to score some relatively easy changes against Manchester United and Crystal Palace, although he silenced many of those fans by scoring four times in Liverpool’s 5-0 win over RB Leipzig two weeks later.
Nunez clearly saw some of the reaction to his first two games, hence his ‘shush’ emoji on that tweet, but the 23-year-old has to be weary he doesn’t follow the path he took in the 2020-21 season when he suspended his social media and blocked people when underperforming.
“We always think that if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure or whatever,” Klopp told the press.
“They are all completely normal human beings and when the first touch is not perfect then…
“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.
“This is 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.”
The creative flair of Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara, Harvey Elliott, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and co should suit Nunez and there’s no reason why he can’t be the Premier League’s top goalscorer should he take his chances that he will inevitably get.
Liverpool can be more direct with balls in behind for him to chase and his speed will be a headache for opposition defenders.
Can he be cool, calm and clinical it in the big games though? That’s what Klopp and Liverpool badly need to topple Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Klopp has got nearly every signing spot on during his time at Liverpool so if he can bring Nunez’s form from the last year, straight into the new Premier League season, Anfield will have a new superstar on their hands.