Support our independent LFC content & go advert-free.
Liverpool's Darwin Nunez (right) walks past manager Jurgen Klopp as he leaves the pitch after receiving a red card during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Monday August 15, 2022. Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Jurgen Klopp wants Darwin Nunez to “pay back with football”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wants Darwin Nunez to use being targeted by opposition defenders to his advantage.

The Reds striker returns to the fold for Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Everton after serving a three-match ban for his red card on his home debut against Crystal Palace.

The former Benfica man lost his cool and headbutted Joachim Andersen, which earned him an instant dismissal in the August 15 clash.

The eyes of Premier League defenders would have lit up when they saw how easily the 23-year-old was triggered and they will surely try to antagonise him.

But Klopp says if the opposition become preoccupied with trying to get a reaction out of Nunez then he can take advantage.

“Our ideas and how we want to think in these situations is that we pay back with football, and that is how it is,” he said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2022: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I don’t think (James) Tarkowski and (Conor) Coady are famous for too much this kind of talking during the game. Most of the things he doesn’t understand anyway, but you don’t have to be too creative with it.

“I don’t think the two boys are like this, but who knows? We will see.

“If Darwin plays then he has to be ready for these things, definitely, that is clear, but when a player is talking to you a lot or is really physical, then he is not in his own game, and he (Nunez) has to use these kind of moments as well.

“If the other one is too busy wanting to distract him, you just have to use it from a football point of view.

“For the Crystal Palace game, when the defender is searching for this constant contact, then go from there and you decide when you start the movement, these kind of things.”

Klopp revealed he has spoken to the Uruguayan about keeping his emotions in check, but has not gone overboard.

“He is a wonderful young man, honestly, but he has emotions as well,” he added. “So making a mistake, we didn’t speak for the full 15 days to him about it telling him, ‘you have to calm down’.

“I think Luis Suarez told him, I’m not sure they spoke privately but probably they did via news and using some media. That will happen but it happens to others as well, that’s how it is, you just have to ignore it and use it.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2022: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez reacts after being shown a red card and sent off during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It was a lot that came together for the boy, it is all new, it was his first home game, a lot of excitement, the emotional level you go into a game is already high, you don’t need to be a bit too emotional.

“The two weeks helped for sure, you can see it. Will it never happen again? I don’t know, but I am pretty sure nothing will happen in the next game.”

More from This Is Anfield

Fan Comments