After narrowly missing out on the Premier League title last season, Liverpool have now bolstered their attacking options by signing Darwin Nunez from Benfica.
Nunez enjoyed an outstanding 2021-22 season and will reportedly cost Liverpool an initial £64.1million and then an extra £21.4million in add-ons.
Here are 15 of the best quotes on Liverpool’s new recruit.
“Extremely good-looking boy, eh? And a decent player as well! Really good, really good, you have to say,” Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Benfica in 2022.
“I knew before, of course, but he played pretty much in front of me with his tough battles with Ibou Konate. Physically strong, quick, plus calm around his finish, when he finished the goal off he was really calm.
“Good, really, really good. How we say in these situations, if he stays healthy it’s a big career ahead of him.”
Virgil van Dijk
“I’ve played against Sergio Aguero, who is obviously unbelievable,” Van Dijk said when asked about his toughest opponent. “[Lionel] Messi, arguably the best player in the history of football, in my opinion.
“[Kylian] Mbappe is different quick. It’s a different type of striker we face who is doing well in the name of [Erling] Haaland, also Darwin [Nunez].
“He’s a bit similar, very direct and quick, tall and strong. It’s quite difficult to play against those guys.”
🇺🇾 This is what Darwin Núñez is all about…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 22, 2022
“We got it right. We must not forget that he is a kid, he is 21 years old and there is a lot about the game that he does not know yet. He will learn with me and Benfica,” the former Benfica manager told SportTV in October 2020.
“All this decision-making ability, finishing and speed…He was Benfica’s most expensive purchase, and when there is no pandemic, he will be the most expensive sale. He will be a world-class player.
“Unfortunately for me, maybe I will lose him in a short time.”
“100 per cent,” Taarabt told talkSPORT when asked if Nunez can carry his Benfica form to the Premier League. “He showed it in the Champions League you see the two games that he had against Liverpool and he was amazing.
“Even after the game, the second leg, Klopp goes to him direct and said what a player he is. Darwin has a mix of [Edinson] Cavani and [Luis] Suarez, he can jump, he can go behind, for me he’s a mix of both.
“I mean 34 goals, six in the Champions League, two against Barcelona, Bayern Munich and two against Liverpool and he’s 22-years-old.”
– “I like the strikers that are selfish, that when they’re in front of goal they just want to score, just finish, and he has that, if he doesn’t score he’s not happy,” the Benfica midfielder added.
“But he was helpful for the team. He works so hard, he’s fit, if you see his body he’s a real athlete, he’s a machine, so for me in the Premier League he will score goals for sure.”
– “Everyone was expecting a lot from him,” says Badia, who was Almeria’s assistant manager while Nunez was there. “He was very hard-working. He developed himself brilliantly in terms of tactical knowhow, physical condition, movement.”
– “He is a tall guy but he is very quick off the mark and he can maintain that speed over long distances,” Badia added.
“That was amazing for the counter-attacks. You could put a long ball to him and he could beat defenders even if they were two metres ahead of him. He was amazing at that.”
Whoever gets Darwin Núñez @Darwinn99 will have a top player on their hands.
He’s been fantastic for Almería this season.
Predator infront of goal, holds the ball up well, quick, tenacious and work ethic is superb. Could be a monster.
— James Dodd (@JamesDodd89) August 18, 2020
“I recommended Darwin to Barcelona when he was at Almeria,” Suarez revealed in an interview with Gerard Romero on Twitch.
“I have 15 years of international experience. I know a thing or two about forwards. And I told them, ‘pay attention to this one, he’s very good, he shows interesting things’.
“They told me he was at Almeria and that he was too young. But instead of paying now €80million, €90million or €100million, they would’ve paid €15million or €20million and have him there as a substitute.”
“I think that he is a very good player, a good kid who is doing really well at Benfica and is enjoying a strong season,” Forlan told Breaking the Lines in 2022.
“It is not just the Portuguese league where he is doing well but in the Champions League too. He is a player who has a lot of potential and he could fit in at Manchester United.
“But obviously, everyone needs to have patience, although he is getting better with more and more experience.”
“He has a similar style to Cavani, but it seems to me that Darwin is faster and more powerful,” the former Penarol manager told La Pagina.
“He is much more explosive and apart from that explosiveness he obviously showed incredible goal-scoring ability. He has two parts, he is half and half between Suarez and Cavani.
“He has the power that Suarez had to go for it all, to go to the clash and fight with the rival. He also has the part of Cavani, of being a much more athletic player, more physical, more intelligent. I think he is a combination of those two things.”
“If you consider Diego Forlan, Edinson Cavani and Suarez, they all have different characteristics, so I don’t think you can compare them,” the former Penarol scout told the BBC in 2021.
“What actually excites me about Darwin is that I think he still has a lot to evolve, he has no ceiling. He’s Uruguay’s future number nine.”
Gonzalo de los Santos
“His skills always stood out above the rest as he had a very athletic physique for his age,” the former sporting director at Penarol told Sky Sports.
“I think that the most remarkable thing about Darwin is this physical potential, combined with his ability to always find the space to break through any defence that he faces.”
“You could see that physically he was one of the fastest players in the league with the acceleration that he had,” Almeria’s fitness coach told Sky Sports. “He was just like a beast.”
“He is a fast, very strong attacker. He has physical strength and good instincts, like Cavani. He can thrive in the penalty area,” the former Napoli winger told Radio Kiss Kiss in 2020.
“He’s a great shape for starters,” Owen told BT Sport in April 2022. “Nowadays, if you’re going to lead the line on your own you’ve got to have a real presence and he’s got that. He’s got size, he’s good in the air and he’s quick as well. He’s deceptively quick.
“Only 22 years old. You think of how many decent strikers Uruguay have had in the past, and this lad looks like the next on the conveyor belt.
“He will give Liverpool problems, he’s certainly well-touted around Europe. He could be the next one to join a top European club, he’s got plenty about him.”
Benfica lead against Barcelona after just three minutes! 😳
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 29, 2021
“I watched him three times in the space of six weeks,” Murphy said on talkSPORT. “One thing I really liked about him was that he is dynamic.
“He’s a very Klopp-type player with high energy, both with and without the ball. He doesn’t mind a press and saw him running back a few times.
“When he hasn’t got the ball, he doesn’t mind running in behind. He’s more of a number nine, he’s not going to play out wide.”
“He looks brilliant,” the former Arsenal striker told Football Insider in April 2022. “I had a good look at him over the two legs Benfica played against Liverpool and I was impressed.
“He is lively and seems a very good player. He has size, pace and occupies centre-halves. Defenders would have their hands full if he comes to the Premier League.”