Jurgen Klopp has leapt to the defence of Darwin Nunez after his £64m forward came in for criticism following his debut performance in Liverpool’s 4-0 capitulation to Manchester United in Thailand.
The two rivals kicked off their respective pre-seasons with a showdown at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, but it was Erik ten Hag who walked away the happier of the two managers as he marked his first game in charge of the Red Devils with an emphatic win.
Goals from Jadon Sancho, Fred, Anthony Martial and Uruguayan youngster Facundo Pellistri secured Man Utd the win, offering their fans brief bragging rights following a season in which the club recorded its lowest-ever Premier League points total.
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For Liverpool, it was an opportunity to see some of their new recruits and a handful of youngsters on show, with summer arrival Fabio Carvalho given a chance to showcase his talents in the starting XI, while major acquisition, Nunez, was introduced on the hour mark.
The Uruguayan was only afforded a 30-minute cameo, but it was certainly an eventful one as he squandered a gilt-edged opportunity from close range, while there were notable signs of ring-rustiness, which are to be expected in these early stages of pre-season.
However, there may have been another reason why Nunez looked a little bit off-beat, with Klopp explaining in the aftermath of the contest that his new recruit took to the turf with “massive blisters” on his feet which affected his form.
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When addressing Nunez’s injury, Klopp was also quick to shut down the idea of over-analysing the respective performances of his debutants, explaining to reporters: “I understand we have to talk about it that early, but for us it makes absolutely no sense.
“Fabio is here for eight days and Darwin for three days and has massive blisters on his feet, and we’ve all experienced that in our life and it doesn’t feel any different for a professional football player, it is really painful.”
Klopp’s comments come after Nunez was mocked by some on social media for his debut performance, with many branding him the ‘Uruguayan Andy Carroll’, which led to the former Liverpool striker trending on Twitter…
Liverpool paid £100m for the Uruguayan Andy Carroll 😭😭😭😭
— WHF!🇾🇪 (@UtdWesleyy) July 12, 2022
All I see is Andy Carroll. pic.twitter.com/Bkv81AXcrE
— Ceejay (@Derah91) July 12, 2022
Jangan jangan Nunez cosplay Andy Carroll ini 🤣 pic.twitter.com/m7fp7DpjbD
— GBW (@beruqkuvuki) July 12, 2022
They've signed Andy Carroll 2.0 pic.twitter.com/X4kkMmRLhu
— Molly (@Molly_AFC) July 12, 2022
Darwin Nunez is just modern day Andy Carroll. Nothing special.
— Elvis Tunde ➐ (@Tunnykvng) July 12, 2022
They've only gone & signed Andy Carroll for 80 million of the queen's finest 😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/wV6zlzP9aZ
— ¹¹ (@zixnysznv2) July 12, 2022
They compared this South American Andy Carroll to ERLING HAALAND 😭😭😭
— ⁴⁷ (@FodenRoIe) July 12, 2022
— Gaga (@kelgaga) July 12, 2022