'Never give up!' - Nunez channels his inner Mo Salah as sensational Uruguay run continues

Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez channelled his inner Mohamed Salah during Uruguay’s opening Copa America 2024 group stage win against Panama in Miami.

The now-25-year-old missed a couple of chances for La Celeste as they toiled against the Central American side, mirroring some of the spurned opportunities for the Reds during the 2023-24 season. 

However, Nunez came up good with just a few minutes left on the clock at the Hard Rock Stadium, doubling Uruguay’s lead after Ronald Araujo opened the scoring. 

After the game he repeated a phrase, albeit in Spanish, that will be very familiar to any Liverpool fans listening. 

“Never Give Up” was the slogan emblazoned on Salah’s t-shirt when the Egyptian attended the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal against Barcelona back in 2019 at Anfield. 

Salah missed the game through injury but Anfield nonetheless witnessed one of its most dramatic ever nights as Gini Wijnaldum and Divock Origi scored twice each in a 4-0 win to overturn a Barca first-leg 3-0 lead. 

The Liverpool goal king was pictured celebrating on the field in the aftermath and the slogan on his shirt came to typify Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp with the Reds going on to claim their sixth European Cup / Champions League in the final against Tottenham in Madrid. 

"In the end I will always miss goals, I will miss five or 10 but I will try 11 times,” Nunez told El Pais Uruguay after the game. 

READ MORE: The pros and cons of selling Darwin 

"That's what a striker has to do, when he misses five he has to keep trying and never give up because otherwise nothing will come of it in the end."

It was Nunez’s NINTH goal in only his last SIX international games for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Uruguay are favourites to top Group C, with hosts United States defeating Bolivia in the other game, 2-0. 

"It is important to start winning in the debut,” he said. “We know that the first game is difficult, but we got the result and we are very happy."

Nunez is on an amazing run of form under Bielsa for the national team and will be hoping to take his strong recent goalscoring run back to the Premier League for his club side next season.

He now has 12 goals in 24 Uruguay caps and his international career has really caught light under ex-Leeds manager Bielsa. 

The former Benfica forward has scored against both Brazil and Argentina in 2026 World Cup qualification matches and added a hat-trick in the pre-Copa America warm-up match against Mexico.  

Bielsa has ordered Nunez to play close to the opposition goal, taking up positions inside the area where he can snaffle close range chances. The Argentine has managed to unlock perhaps the best form of Darwin’s career thus far and it will be interesting to see if Arne Slot takes a leaf out of El Loco’s book for Liverpool next season. 

NUNEZ'S DIFFICULT END OF SEASON RUN 

Reviews of Nunez’s overall performance on the night were mixed across social media and in the press but as long as he keeps hitting the net he will have an answer for his critics. 

Nunez finished the season in poor form for Liverpool, losing a starting place to Cody Gakpo and suffering widespread and unwarranted abuse across his social media profiles. 

There had been some uncertainty over the Uruguayan’s future with Barcelona appearing interested but it looks likely that Darwin remains at Liverpool, where he is under contract until 2028. 

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