During his first season at Liverpool, Darwin Nunez was labeled as a wildcard who could be the ace one minute and the joker the next. He was seen as an agent of mayhem every time he stepped foot on the field for Liverpool.
According to the figures compiled by Opta, the Uruguayan player who cost £85 million had a season that was a mix of successes and failures. He scored 15 goals in 42 games, including 26 starts, and had 12 great chances that he converted while missing 28 others.
Nunez’s supporters claimed that he was a jewel that simply needed to be polished into something spectacular, despite the fact that he was sent off for headbutting Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen on his Anfield league debut. The incident occurred when Nunez was making his debut in the league.
It was all hits and no misses as the 24-year-old was the architect of a genuinely stunning turnaround with two late goals in a smash-and-grab 2-1 triumph for Jurgen Klopp’s side at St. James’ Park during Liverpool’s match against Newcastle United. The match took place in the hectic setting of Liverpool’s match against Newcastle United.
After being outplayed for long stretches of the game and outnumbered for more than an hour after their captain, Virgil van Dijk, was shown a red card for bringing down Alexander Isak three minutes after Anthony Gordon capitalized on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s mistake to put Newcastle ahead, Nunez entered the fray with 13 minutes left in normal time. Liverpool had been outplayed for long stretches of the game and were outnumbered for more than an hour.
The goal was scored by Nunez four minutes after he was brought into the game. He took the pass from Diogo Jota in stride and finished with precision, sending the ball past the keeper for Newcastle, Nick Pope, into the bottom right corner.
Miguel Almiron was denied a goal by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson’s miraculous first-half save, turning his powerful drive onto the woodwork with the score 1-0, and the same player striking the post after break. Newcastle and St. James’ Park were collectively stunned as a victory that seemed theirs for the taking was in danger of being snatched away after their domination of a Liverpool side that was at a numerical disadvantage.
Liverpool defeats Newcastle 2-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Nunez.
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Because of the decisive significance of Nunez’s goal and Liverpool’s rising threat, a stadium that had been resounding with its support became suddenly a bundle of anxieties, with fear taking the place of anticipation.
If disappointment was the predominant feeling for Newcastle after squandering away a position of victory, then it was about to get a lot worse in the third minute of the five additional minutes that were played.
After collecting a through ball from Mohamed Salah, Nunez once again played the role of the destroyer by delivering a shot that was little more deft but still quite strong into the same corner of the net.
The people of Newcastle were taken aback. Liverpool was overjoyed. A competition that had been building up during the whole game finally came to a head at the perfect moment for Nunez and his manager Klopp.
This was a testament to Liverpool’s strength of character and their ability to dig deep even when it appeared that all hope was lost. It was possible that it was also a reflection of the roadblock that Eddie Howe and Newcastle appear to have when it comes to getting past Klopp and Liverpool.
Howe’s record against Klopp at Newcastle is played five, lost five, and this will undoubtedly be the most painful of all, even more so than a similar injury-time sucker blow at Anfield at the beginning of last season. Howe’s record against Klopp at Newcastle is played five, lost five. Since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool in the summer of 2015 and Steve McClaren was in charge of the opposition coaching staff, Newcastle has not been victorious over Liverpool since their 2-0 victory at Anfield in December 2015.
Klopp had displayed an angry and agitated demeanor for the majority of the game, yelling at the officials, his players, and even appearing to berate his own goalkeeping coach John Achterberg at one point.
Even in what is supposed to be a more civilized situation this season, the technical room was a hothouse when these two teams met. Howe’s assistant Jason Tindall touched his lips in a’shush’ motion to Klopp as things became inflamed. This appears to be the pattern whenever these two teams compete against one another.
When the final credits rolled, it bit Tindall right where it hurt: in the rear end.
The error made by Alexander-Arnold that led to Gordon’s goal was emblematic of a very bad individual performance by Liverpool, but they refused to give up and took advantage of Newcastle’s carelessness to provide that dramatic conclusion.
After a lackluster season the last time around in which they did not win any trophies and did not even qualify for the Champions League, Klopp will see this as confirmation that Liverpool are back on the right track. This comes after a season in which Liverpool did not even qualify for the Champions League. There is no way anyone could declare that this was a classic victory, but it was one that was achieved despite facing adversaries who view themselves as competitors for a top-four berth this season.
It was also their second consecutive win despite being reduced to 10 men after overcoming Bournemouth in spite of Alex Mac Allister’s red card, which was eventually overturned.
Make no mistake about it, Klopp did a better job of managing the in-game conditions than his opponent, Howe, did of managing his.
Even though Klopp only had 10 players available, he made some effective changes, and Nunez and Jota were two of the players that made a difference.
The only plausible explanation for Howe’s decision to substitute goal scorer Gordon and graceful and influential Sandro Tonali is that they were both suffering from tired legs. There was no other valid justification for Howe to withdraw them from the game. The departure of those players deprived Newcastle of its shape and drive.
There is some firepower in this Liverpool lineup with Salah, Jota, Luis Diaz, and Cody Gakpo if Nunez actually has honed his propensity of unpredictable finishing. If this is the case, Nunez joins Salah, Jota, Luis Diaz, and Cody Gakpo.
This was a harsh lesson for Newcastle after they failed to finish off an opponent when it appeared as though they had them at their mercy. Liverpool’s hold over Howe and his squad was extended, and it is possible that this was playing on their minds after they failed to finish off the game.
In an interview with BBC 5 Live Sport at St. James’s Park, former Scotland international Pat Nevin said, “Newcastle could have wrapped it up, should have wrapped it up, but Liverpool hung on and then got better and better.” The adjustments that Klopp made were a stroke of genius. He unleashed his fury on Nunez and Jota, and the result was exactly what he had wished for.
“But with Newcastle, it was about having the mentality that they can go somewhere like Liverpool and beat them,” he said. They were unaware, and that is what makes all the difference. Liverpool is aware that they are capable of making a comeback from these positions.
After the setback of the previous season, Klopp is adamant that Liverpool has “reloaded,” and Nunez’s firepower caused Newcastle to be left reeling in the final minutes of the game.