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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Darwin Nunez’s ridiculous stats vs. Fulham show impact beyond xG missed

After Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Fulham in the Carabao Cup, Jurgen Klopp faced questions on another Darwin Nunez miss, but his impact went far beyond xG.

Sitting down for his post-match press conference on Wednesday, it was put to Klopp that, for all the focus on Nunez’s goals, his all-round game had stepped up.

“He plays outstanding,” was the manager’s response.

Reflecting on a remarkable save that left him with an unfulfilled xG tally of 0.76, Klopp said: “I don’t know how to explain the Darwin situation…you cannot be more unlucky than he was.”

But Nunez came away from the first-leg win with assists for both of Liverpool’s goals, bringing him up to 10 for the season, which is more than any of his team-mates.

The No. 9’s impact was underlined further with statistics via Squawka, with Nunez dominating a range of attacking metrics despite only coming on in the 56th minute.

He came away with the most touches in the opposition’s box (12), the most take-ons completed (three) and, of course, the most assists (two).

Nunez also had the joint-most shots (four), shots on target (three) and chances created (two).

His influence on the game was clear even on the eye test, with the dynamic of the game changing when he and Gakpo took over from Ryan Gravenberch and Harvey Elliott.

Naturally, as the most expensive signing in the club’s history and a marquee centre-forward, Nunez will always be judged on his output in terms of goals.

But there is cause for Klopp to be completely at ease with the Uruguayan’s contribution, as when he is on the pitch, Liverpool invariably play better and create more chances.

It may not be the role many expected upon his £85 million move from Benfica, but there is no denying Nunez’s importance to Liverpool now.