Jurgen Klopp reminds Darwin Nunez of “ticket” to more minutes next season

Jurgen Klopp has told Darwin Nunez what he needs to do to earn his spot in the team next season after the striker netted his fourth goal of the summer.

Liverpool were resounding 4-0 winners over Leicester in their third friendly of pre-season and first in Singapore, with Nunez on target to open the scoring after 30 minutes.

Goals from teenagers Bobby Clark and Ben Doak followed, with Diogo Jota also on the scoresheet as the Reds scored four for the third fixture in a row.

Speaking after the game, the manager explained that a “readiness to defend” will be the key to Nunez staking his claim for game time next season as he battles with Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah and Jota for a place within the front three.

“Sometimes it needs more time, that’s how it is. The signs Darwin showed last season were really good. But injuries and the red card were not helpful at the start,” the boss explained.

“The ticket into the team will be the readiness to defend. I’ve never heard about a team being really successful with sloppy defending. It doesn’t happen.”

Nunez has been in fine goalscoring form this summer having registered four goals in just 135 minutes of pre-season football.

Klopp added that all of his forwards will be required to do their bit away from goal if they are to secure a regular spot up front next season.

“It’s the same for Darwin and all the other strikers. I know all about the quality they have and they need to do both, defend and be influential in all offensive situations,” he continued.

SINGAPORE - Sunday, July 30, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He was good. You can see he’s a handful – speed and a typical goal scorer, being there, smelling it and finishing it off. In training, he looks really good. Being fit helps. Now, two more games and then Chelsea and we’ll see.”

The Reds now turn their attention to Bayern Munich on Wednesday before returning to England to wrap up their 2023/24 preparations at Deepdale against Darmstadt on August 7.

The competition for places will be intense next season with the embarrassment of riches Klopp has up front, but the early signs are that the Uruguayan is capable of putting himself firmly in the picture.