Darwin Nunez is undoubtedly one of the most fun and chaotic players in football, but that generally only works if one scores the goals to match the chaos.
The thing is with Darwin is that since he signed for Liverpool in 2022 for a rather eye-watering £64million, he’s only really been able to do one of those things at a time.
And nine times out of ten, it’s the chaos without the goals.
That was all fine and dandy at first, for the man with the best bun in football and pace so blistering he could singe off the eyebrows of any defender trying to chase him.
But when he’s still making the same errors in front of goal two years on – with no clear sign of improving – it becomes slightly worrisome.
Not for us. We love Darwin. Our resident king of chaos is everything fun and pure about football, and reminds us that it’s okay not to be a complete robot workaholic who has to be perfect at everything.
In a game of increasingly fine margins and nigh-on impossible expectations to match, Nunez is a non-conformist. Football’s punk rocker. The Barclays’ very own CM Punk – whether he means it or not.
The unfortunate part of the story is that he does not mean it. It’s become a real problem for Liverpool, whose investment in the Uruguayan is looking increasingly concerning – but it’s not for the want of trying.
God loves a trier, and if there’s one thing Nunez undoubtedly does, it’s try. That doesn’t cut the mustard, however, when the assists for Mohamed Salah are coupled with Nunez fumbling just about every clear-cut chance on goal he gets.
His performance against Newcastle embodied that unfortunate reality – to the point where we think he might actually be cursed.
The 24-year-old was there again to assist Salah – for the fifth time this season – in slick fashion.
Diaz 🔗 Núñez 🔗 Salah
Mo Salah scores his 1️⃣5️⃣0️⃣th Premier League goal! 🔴💫 pic.twitter.com/0FkTUoTCbK
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 1, 2024
But he surrounded that bright moment with a catalogue of missed chances that were so tasty they’d make your injury-prone Sunday league number nine froth at the mouth in despair.
Seriously, it’s a cliche, but these chances are quite literally harder to miss. Albert Einstein wouldn’t even be able to figure out how one man can rely so specifically on a split-second of instinct.
If it’s not spur of the moment, Nunez wants nothing to do with it. That you have to respect.
Only issue is his erratic nature is giving useless strikers at Powerleague up and down the country a way of excusing their own shoddy finishing, justifying their style of play as Nunez-esque, instinctive chaos.
No John, you’ve scored one goal in eight weeks. And it was in a 6-1 defeat. Leave the sock tape at home and get the goalkeeper gloves on. Please.
We’re desperate to see Nunez finally transform potential – and an unfathomable amount of expected goals – into a vein of consistent scoring form, even if it comes at the expense of him feeding our very desperate need for chaos.
Whether or not that becomes reality is entirely out of our – and it appears his – hands.
Darwin, keep plugging away. There’s a rebounded goal off your left cheek coming and it’ll set you free.
And if it doesn’t, there’s always a spot with your name on it alongside John from accounts on a Wednesday night.
By Mitch Wilks