Rafa Benitez backs £85m man Darwin Nunez to succeed at Liverpool

Rafa Benitez backs £85m man Darwin Nunez to succeed at Liverpool following his difficult start to his career at the club… as he insists the Uruguayan will learn from his mistakes after his red card saw him miss three games

  • Darwin Nunez has endured a tricky start to his Premier League career
  • The £85m signing was sent off for a headbutt on his home debut at Anfield
  • But former Liverpool boss Benitez believes he won’t make the same error again
  • Benitez says the 23-year-old will ‘score a lot of goals’ for his new club  

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes Darwin Nunez will learn from the mistake which led to his sending off against Crystal Palace as he backed the Uruguayan forward to succeed at the club after his difficult start to life in the Premier League.

Nunez returned from a three-match suspension for headbutting Palace defender Joachim Andersen on his home debut last month during the goalless Merseyside derby on Saturday.

The £85million summer signing, who scored on his Liverpool debut at Fulham, was goaded into the red card by Andersen as he lost his cool.

Benitez admits Nunez’s red card will have made it more difficult to settle in at Anfield but backed the 23-year-old to be a success.  

Darwin Nunez was sent off against Crystal Palace for headbutting defender Joachim Andersen

Nunez returned to the Liverpool side after his three-match ban in the goalless draw with Everton

‘His recent sending off has impacted upon how quickly he has been able to build-up an understanding with new team-mates, but the positive from that situation is that he knows not to become involved with defenders again,’ Benitez wrote in is column for The Times.

‘I also think he will score a lot of goals for Liverpool and that he provides them with a different dynamic to Roberto Firmino. 

‘Firmino likes to drop off, create superiority in the middle of the pitch and help his team-mates score whereas Nunez is someone who always wants to be in the penalty box.

Nunez joined Liverpool from Benfica during the summer transfer window for a club record fee

Rafa Benitez believes the 23-year-old Uruguayan will still be a huge success at Liverpool

‘He needs a little time and Liverpool just need a goal to boost their confidence. I don’t see a team struggling with major issues.’

Liverpool have won just two of their opening six league matches and are already six points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

The Reds will hope to banish their domestic difficulties when they open their Champions League campaign with a tricky trip to Napoli on Wednesday.

Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, said there was no reason for Liverpool fans to panic, despite their tricky start to the season.

‘There has been a lot of scrutiny on Liverpool’s start to the season,’ he wrote. ‘This is not an easy game, especially when the crowd is behind Napoli because the players feed off that.

‘But whatever the result, I don’t have major concerns about Jurgen Klopp’s side. People have asked me, ‘Are they tired from last season?’ Just look at the number of chances they had in the final 20 minutes against Everton and that answers that.

‘There is increasing focus on Mohamed Salah. Again, had his shot gone in at the end of the Merseyside derby, rather than hitting the post, that would not be mentioned. Salah is, in many ways, a victim of the high standards he set for so long but his battle with Mário Rui will be one the Napoli left back will hardly be looking forward to.’


Benitez singled out Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia as one of Napoli’s dangermen.

‘Kvaratskhelia will be an unfamiliar name to many people, but he poses a huge threat to Liverpool,’ he said.

‘Speaking to some friends in Italy over the weekend, they said to me that he is the best player in Italy right now. Other people might put forward different players, but what everyone can agree on is how well Kvaratskhelia has taken to Serie A.’

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