It was a heartbreaking evening for a tearful Darwin Nunez as Uruguay exited the World Cup, but Liverpool supporters were able to take a positive.
Nunez was already off the pitch when, at 2-0 up against Ghana, Uruguay’s fate changed as a goal elsewhere from Hwang Hee-chan put South Korea ahead over Portugal.
A 2-1 victory for South Korea saw them leapfrog Uruguay into second in Group H, with Diego Alonso’s side unable to score the goal they needed to retake the advantage.
It left Uruguay to depart the tournament at the group stage, with Nunez and Luis Suarez watching on in tears and players and staff clashing with officials over their decisions late on.
Nunez became the first Liverpool player to be knocked out of this year’s World Cup, with Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Alisson and Fabinho all through to the last 16.
And while it will hurt for the 23-year-old striker, Liverpool fans took to Twitter as they looked on the bright side.
Heartbreak for Darwin.
Great for Liverpool.
He's free to join training camp in Dubai.
— Piang Shankly (@PiangShankly) December 3, 2022
Only positive from Uruguay going out there is, get Darwin to Dubai with the Reds and start him vs City
— Mike Buckley (@MichaelBuckle17) December 2, 2022
Darwin back for Dubai camp ready to take out frustration on premier league defences
— Lee (@ljk1892) December 2, 2022
Gutted for Suarez. Glad to have Nunez back early. Uruguayans going ballistic, referee absolutely terrified. I love the World Cup.
Massive, massive props to Japan and South Korea – sensational group stage efforts from both.
— Danny Gallagher (@Danny7Gallagher) December 2, 2022
Another Liverpool player with a nice aul rest, on the plus side. https://t.co/jngP8d7pns
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) December 2, 2022
Darwin coming back fresh and fit
— luke (@Ifcluke) December 2, 2022
#LFC Uruguay out Darwin Nunez home tomorrow….happy days!
— James McCarthy* (@JamesInvictus) December 2, 2022
It's okay, Darwin. Back to Liverpool, and get the happiness. ? pic.twitter.com/WwuMthqS2A
— Betakopites (@BetaKopites) December 2, 2022
Hi darwin do u want picking up in the morning pal pic.twitter.com/8GdZ3ZIAn1
— steph? (@saturrrday) December 2, 2022
The Liverpool squad who were not on World Cup duty arrive in Dubai for a mid-season training camp this weekend, ahead of friendlies against Lyon (December 11) and AC Milan (December 16).
With no competitive fixture until December 22, against Man City in the Carabao Cup, and the Premier League not resuming until Boxing Day, at Aston Villa, it is valuable time to train and prepare for the second half of the campaign.
That will now involve Nunez, who will be afforded a short break before making the trip to Dubai and linking up with his team-mates again.
The hope is that his frustration in Qatar will be harnessed into unstoppable form as Liverpool return to action, with the No. 27 having already shown signs of exploding into life before the interval.