Jurgen Klopp‘s decision to take off Darwin Nunez with 10 minutes of the Reds’ clash with Chelsea to spare has left many supporters bewildered.
Nunez was joined by Curtis Jones in being replaced as part of a double substitution at Stamford Bridge, with Cody Gakpo and James Milner taking their places.
The forward was also taken off during Liverpool’s Champions League last 16 second leg against Real Madrid last month, prompting a similar response from fans.
It was a switch that baffled many, particularly given the fact that he was perhaps the biggest attacking threat in an otherwise stale performance from the Reds.
Football Insider’s David Lynch was among those who were perplexed by the change.
It could be concerns over fitness driving it, but find it difficult to understand Darwin Nuñez getting hooked early. Liverpool desperately need him to find consistency before next season if they are to get back to where they want to be and limiting his minutes won’t help.
— David Lynch (@dmlynch) April 4, 2023
Taking off Nunez and leaving Jota out there was a strange one.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) April 4, 2023
Jurgen Klopp substitutions have been shocking all season. Taking off Firmino who played well instead of Jota, taking off Nunez who has no help when we needed a goal, keeping Jones on for 80 minutes and still finding a way to bring on 37 year old James Milner.
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) April 4, 2023
Why does Klopp insist on taking off Nunez? It makes zero sense.
— – (@AnfieldRd96) April 4, 2023
@ Jurgen stop subbing off Nunez please and thank you
— GCIIMessi (PixelPrintDesign) (@GCIIMessi) April 4, 2023
The fact Jota has managed to stay on the field longer than Nunez and Firmino genuinely defies belief
— george (@georgeewhiite) April 4, 2023
Another game with bafflingly shit subs. Nunez off instead of Jota and Captain Point and Shout is still on the pitch, stinking up the joint yet again when he can't even control a frigging ball.
— Stu (@CerealKillerStu) April 4, 2023
Jota playing 90+ and Nunez getting dragged is up there with every single one of Jurgen’s shocking substitutions.
— GL (@garylouth) April 4, 2023
Klopp really took nunez off and not jota…
— Who Is Gr?gg??? (@greggislocallfc) April 4, 2023
Admittedly, the manager finds himself in a difficult position having to navigate three fixtures against top-class opposition within the space of nine days.
Nunez missed out on international duty with Uruguay due to an ankle injury, and it remains unclear where the 23-year-old currently is with his fitness.
The striker was restricted to a substitute appearance away at Man City, and is unlikely to be operating at full capacity given the way in which the break has fallen for him.
Liverpool were also significantly outplayed by Chelsea throughout the second half in the capital, and goals were far less of a concern than they had been at the Bernabeu.
Nunez will no doubt be hoping to play a significant role this weekend as table-topping Arsenal come to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.