Heading into the Community Shield, much of the narrative was built around the two strikers brought in by Liverpool and Man City over the summer.
Only one of those started, but Erling Haaland endured a tough evening for City, in particular as he blasted over the bar from six yards out with the goal gaping.
Nunez, though, came off the bench to brilliant effect: winning a penalty and scoring a header to seal a 3-1 victory for Liverpool.
Given the bizarre criticism of his first outings in pre-season against Man United and Crystal Palace, this was another emphatic response as the 23-year-old secured the first silverware of his time at Liverpool.
The Community Shield is far from the most prestigious of trophies, but it was a symbolic victory for Nunez – and the fans watching on.
Many took to Twitter following the win over City to hail Nunez’s impact.
The Community Shield matters to Darwin Nunez.
— Caoimhe O'Neill (@CaoimheSport) July 30, 2022
I’m so glad that Darwin is a Red ????????.
— keith costigan (@KeithCostigan) July 30, 2022
Darwin has deserved that. He’s been immense.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) July 30, 2022
Game-changing sub from Darwin Núñez. Wins the pen for 2-1, and scores 3-1 on his debut. Yet there is more to come. His final touch is still slightly off in some moments, but the movements and runs he takes are spot on. Once he is 100 percent he will be an even bigger nightmare.
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) July 30, 2022
Nunez wins a penalty, then a brilliant poacher's goal. Denied by an Edison save with his face. Plus pressing and runs off the ball. Not bad for 30 minutes. Now five goals in about 120 minutes of preseason football so far, against top opposition.
— Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins) July 30, 2022
Darwin Nunez since coming on in the second half pic.twitter.com/GfPitZoaGT
— Yu (@YucciMane) July 30, 2022
Great snapshot of what Nunez will offer for half an hour there: aerial threat, danger in behind and tap ins from inside the six-yard box.
— Josh Williams (@DistanceCovered) July 30, 2022
— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) July 30, 2022
I do love me a boss Uruguayan striker ??????
— The Liverpool Way (@theliverpoolway) July 30, 2022
Nunez it’s gonna score loads and he has a 10 pack ??
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) July 30, 2022
Wild how Darwin Núñez has had more of an impact on this game than Erling Halaand. No wonder he cost a lot more money.
— Luis Paez-Pumar (@lppny) July 30, 2022
DARWIN NUNEZ WHERES THE HATERS AT? ?????
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) July 30, 2022
These man were making fail comps all summer just for Darwin to rock up and put a dagger in Haalands first silverware hopes ???????
— A????? (@Akzyy) July 30, 2022
Compile that you fucking meffs ?
— Josh Sexton (@jsexton24) July 30, 2022
Make a fail video out of that!
— Jonathan Higgins (@Jhiggins3) July 30, 2022
All the banter accounts gonna be making Haaland compilations tonight then?
— Matt Ladson (@mattladson) July 30, 2022
In reality, there should be no forced narrative of Nunez vs. Haaland, but the rivalry between Liverpool and Man City, and the landscape of modern football fandom, certainly sets it up that way.
For Reds, though, the joy should simply be in their new No. 27 making his mark so soon after making the £85 million move from Benfica.
More of the same come August 6, please, Darwin!