Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes new teammate Darwin Nunez will be giving Premier League defenders the runaround.
The 23-year-old Uruguayan forward relocated to Anfield from Benfica this summer for a reported £64.2m. He’s the club’s most high-profile acquisition so far with Fábio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay also joining from Fulham and Aberdeen, respectively.
Nunez’s arrival coincided with Sadio Mané and Takumi Minamino leaving Merseyside, for Bayern Munich and Monaco, thus opening up space in Jurgen Klopp’s attack with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah — who penned a new three-year contract — Diogo Jota, Harvey Elliott and Luis Diaz as his forward options.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who sporadically featured under Klopp in the season just gone, saw Nunez up close when the Reds faced Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals. Liverpool would subsequently run out 6-4 on aggregate with Nunez scoring at his new home and Oxlade-Chamberlain feels he will make a similar impact as Díaz who also played in Portugal’s top division before signing for the 19-time English champions.
Oxlade-Chamberlain told Liverpool’s club website: “Darwin, we played against and saw him first hand and I think everything that we saw in those games reminded me a little bit of Luis [Diaz] when we played against him when he was at Porto.”
“He’s that sort of a player that you know what you are going to get from – the athleticism, the speed, the strength, the power – and it was the same with him. I remember having to chase Luis back at Anfield at one point and he made me stick it into fifth gear and then try to find sixth to keep up with him!
“You sort of remember those things and when he walked through the door that was the first thing I remembered – don’t try to get in a race with him if I’m expecting to win! I think Darwin would be the same. I think Virgil said first hand and Ibou said as well how quick and strong he was.
“I think he had that confidence and swagger about him as well and I think as a striker, as a forward player, you sort of need to have that confidence to go and do good things and lead the team from up there.”
During a two-year spell with Benfica he would play 84 times in all competitions registering 47 goals and creating 16 more. He finished the 2021/22 season as the Primeira Liga top scorer with 26 goals that also earned him the Primeira Liga Player of the Year prize.