Jurgen Klopp hails Darwin Nunez impact despite Newcastle frustrations

Jurgen Klopp has hailed the impact of Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez despite the Uruguayan missing a number of big chances against Newcastle United on Monday.

The Reds ran out 4-2 victors against the Magpies on New Year's Day, kicking off 2024 with a win that takes them three points clear at the top of the table.

Despite Liverpool's dominance at Anfield, they made hard work of things on Monday evening, especially given they broke the record for the highest expected goals tally in a Premier League match (7.27).

Prior to the late flurry of goals, it looked as if it was going to be an incredibly frustrating clash for the Reds, with Liverpool missing plenty of big chances.

One of the guiltiest parties in terms of profligacy was Darwin Nunez, the Uruguayan hooked after 64 minutes by Klopp.

Nunez finished the match having had eight shots on goal with an xG of 1.67, the former Benfica man also missing three big chances at Anfield.

One of those was a one-on-one with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka which he slammed straight at the Slovakian, Nunez cutting a frustrated figure on the bench after being substituted.

Asked about Nunez and his frustrations, Klopp said after the game: "I don't know what you are really talking about. Of course he is not happy not scoring. I saw him on the bench. I saw him involved.

"It was nail biting around the VAR decisions. Football is a pretty simple game, put the ball in the back of the net, besides that the boys have to do a lot of stuff.

"We were talking outside, it was 100% the right decision to bring Darwin today because he kept [Sven] Botman and [Fabian] Schar together, that gave us the space for everything else. It is completely different if Cody is there."

The Liverpool boss added: "Nobody has to worry about Darwin. He is fine. Played a really good game. Decided the game with an unselfish pass to Mo.

"We needed him there. As long as Darwin has all these moments today which he has today, it is all fine. I don't know exactly what amount of goals he has scored in the season but a lot, Darwin will score and there is no doubt about it.

"The only problem is if the public wouldn't watch us, it is all fine. Because then it is just he is doing right and he has to start again and again. He gets questioned on social media and that disturbs slightly."

Nunez ended his goalscoring drought during Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Burnley on Boxing Day, but was again guilty of a lack of ruthlessness against Newcastle. His tally of five goals from an xG of 11.13 leaves a lot to be desired.

While Klopp will be happy with the 24-year-old's general play, he is bound to be disappointed with his finishing.

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