Football News

“It’ll only get worse” – Ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez offers Darwin Nunez warning after Anfield red card

By Harry Edwards

Published: 11:08, 19 August 2022

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has warned Darwin Nunez that things are going to get worse in the Premier League after his nightmare home debut.

Nunez arrived at Liverpool with a lot of fanfare after thriving at Benfica last season and scored in both the Community Shield and Premier League opener, coming off the bench in those matches. Signing in the same summer that Erling Haaland joined Manchester City, there was a natural comparison between the pair and their potential impacts for the Premier League title contenders.

After being eased into the team, Nunez made his first Liverpool start in their Premier League game against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Monday, replacing the injured Roberto Firmino. However, it was an Anfield debut to forget as Nunez was sent off in the 57th minute of the 1-1 draw for headbutting Joachim Andersen.

Andersen had been paying close attention to Nunez throughout the game, roughing and riling up the Uruguayan as much as he could while staying on the right side of the law. In all came to a head when, after a tussle off the ball, Andersen pushed Nunez who had already appeared to direct a headbutt his way. This time, Nunez did connect (albeit very slightly), right in front of referee Paul Tierney, with Andersen dropping to the floor.

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The red card was almost immediate as was the criticism from fans, while Jurgen Klopp was also quick to admonish his striker after the match. Darwin, who now misses the next three matches through suspension, was the first Liverpool player to be sent off on his home Premier League debut since Joe Cole in 2010 – in another 1-1 draw, this time against Arsenal.

Liverpool fans will remain positive about Nunez not following Cole in terms of having an underwhelming time at Anfield and there are hopes that he can be closer to another Uruguayan, Suarez. Although he has potentially burned some bridges after his antics when playing against Liverpool, Suarez was a star at Anfield, scoring 69 goals in 110 Premier League matches including 31 in 2013/14 to win the Golden Boot.

While Suarez didn’t get sent off during his time in the Premier League, he wasn’t a stranger to controversy, receiving a ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra and another suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

And Suarez has revealed he has spoken to Nunez, to offer words of encouragement but also a warning that Premier League defenders will look to rile him up even more now.

“It’s nothing serious, we’ve all made a mistake,” Suarez told Telemundo.

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“The problem is that he’s only just arrived over there and in England, to put it lightly, they make a big deal out of everything.

“With what happened to him the other day I was talking to him. Don’t give them any more chances, it’ll only get worse. Because he is just starting out and to make him aware that from now on [opponents] will be seeking him out twice or three times more often.

“Even more so in England – he’s hearing this from an idiot who make mistakes and suffered for them, but falling down and getting up again made me stronger.

“Darwin is someone who listens a lot. He is very smart that way and I think he will try to turn this situation around, it’s not a big deal, we have all made mistakes, we have all been sent off.”