After a much-scrutinised start to life at Liverpool, Darwin Nunez is starting to hit the heights as he becomes The Reds big hope this season…


WHERE to start with Liverpool, then?

They are absolutely exhilarating for the opening 15 on Tuesday only to leave you tearing your hair out at 90. Talk about a game of two halves. Talk about this season of seasons.

Back-to-back wins against Everton and Newcastle suggested momentum had shifted, a corner had been turned. If that was the case then this was the bumpiest of landings back to planet Earth. The Reds prove they can cause damage but they’re too often inflicting it on themselves.

The frequency with which goals are being conceded is alarming and the nature of them only more so. Getting Ibrahima Konate back in the fold will be a welcome boost, but it feels like there could be a more systemic problem at play. In midfield, as good as Stefan Bajcetic has been, asking him to be a finished article at this age is unrealistic.

There’s no denying Liverpool have some serious and significant problems to solve and it’s clear an overhaul is needed; that truth was known before kick off and only emphasised in the events after. What that looks like will become apparent in the summer, but that in itself relies on improvement now.

One area of slight reprieve will be the form of the front three, who increasingly look like a refined unit. For all the doom and gloom felt from Tuesday, at the very least The Reds did, for however fleeting a moment, pack a punch.

That opening 15 minutes were the most electric of the season; the press was back, the hunger was transferred from the stands onto the pitch and the goals flowed. Liverpool may still be causing themselves too many problems, but they are at least giving the opposition some headaches, too.

Liverpool's Darwin Núñez sees his shot blocked during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Anfield

Darwin Nunez has been key to that, visibly growing in confidence after a frustrating start.

Scoring 12 goals and getting four assists in 29 games having joined this version of Liverpool — one whose need for an extensive rebuild is so clear — isn’t easy, and there is a real feeling from an individual perspective that things are on the way up for him.

He’s every defender’s nightmare, in that he is physically imposing and aggressive and yet loves to run in behind. To have a player capable of stretching a defence is a real asset; he gets into the right positions, making runs at the right time and finding the right space, all of which have had a positive impact on Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo.

With every game he’s linking up the two of them more and more and we are now starting to see that confidence flow into his wider game; the powerful run and assist against Everton, an instinctive volley against Newcastle, the sumptuous flick against Real Madrid.

At 23, he’s not the finished article, but there’s no doubt he is growing into his Liverpool career. He’s looking up and passing more, he’s making positive runs in behind. His goal on Tuesday was the mark of a player full of confidence in his abilities and the task for Klopp will be providing a platform for him to build on.

Bar a miracle in Madrid, Liverpool find themselves in the very real scenario where this season becomes all about securing top four. Darwin Nunez’s upward trajectory offers the biggest and best hope of keeping those dreams alive.

The small matter of Selhurst Park next. For the love of God Liverpool, just win.

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