Darwin Nunez’s first pre-season tour with Liverpool brought him more blisters than goals. A half-hour second outing was equally unproductive for him, though his side bounced back from the 4-0 loss to Manchester United by beating Crystal Palace 2-0, but it nonetheless offered a glimpse of why which the £64million striker was signed for. and an indication of Jurgen Klopp’s attempts to bring him in.
Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah, who started and finished with the captain’s armband respectively, scored the goals in Singapore. While Klopp used 31 players, having deployed 32 against United – this time there were two more recognizable line-ups with the youngsters only emerging en masse in the final 15 minutes – it is worth noting that the two cameos de Nunez came in the same line before. like salah.
He was hampered by foot problems against United. There were signs of an embryonic deal against Palace. A great chance was provided by the Egyptian, with the Uruguayan shooting Vicente Guaita. From a sharper angle, and after eluding a crowd of defenders, he directed another effort towards the palace keeper later. Still, it was both chances, one largely self-made, in his first quarter-hour on the pitch for Nunez. Klopp’s defining characteristic of a striker tends not to be a clinical touch, although some have demonstrated that, as much as perseverance and the ability to get into goalscoring positions.
Predatory as ever and sharp, Salah opened his pre-season account in brand fashion, although a deflection from Joachim Andersen baffled Guaita. His strike flowed from the established combination down the right flank, with Trent Alexander-Arnold finding it with a backheel. The opener came from the same wing but with a different dynamic.
Harvey Elliott provided the reduction for Henderson to roll up on a shot. While the primacy and fitness records of Salah and Alexander-Arnold may suggest this is only a problem for lesser games, Klopp has nonetheless thrived with a right-handed trio who are all midfielders from profession: James Milner, who served as right-back playmaker, and Elliott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, two each able to operate skillfully in midfield and up front by swapping positions.
In old parlance, Elliott can be inside right and outside right and each was obvious as he was arguably the outstanding player of the first half. He sliced a shot wide after a third-man run following a combination from the trio: Milner’s through pass, Oxlade-Chamberlain releasing the ball. He almost sent Curtis Jones on goal. Klopp recently argued that Elliott was Liverpool’s best player in their first four games last season, before breaking his ankle at Elland Road, and it was a reminder that he offers a more creative alternative to Henderson as No. 8 on the right side. year and Liverpool could create triangles on the right with the trio of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Elliott and Salah. Rewind a week and Klopp cited the promise of his young midfielders as a reason not to buy.
Their versatility adds to their appeal. Some of the minutes Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi got in the top three last season could go to a combination of Elliott, Jones and Fabio Carvalho this year and Fulham’s summer arrival came as a left winger. Cutting into the field, he had a shot cleared. The former Oxlade-Chamberlain started as a right winger, found himself in promising positions and suffered an injury shooting. A stop-start Anfield career may have another hiatus.
Injuries present other problems. Joe Gomez’s absence was a precaution but Klopp described Diogo Jota’s hamstring issue as “a concern”. The Portuguese is yet to feature in pre-season – an influential display from Roberto Firmino could boost his chances of starting the season in the team – while Alisson, who played against Manchester United, was missing with an injury that Klopp deemed ‘uncool’. even though he doesn’t expect the keeper to be sidelined for long. It’s Leipzig next for Liverpool as Nunez’s quest for a first goal continues.