Darwin Nunez has responded to his critics over missed chances – ‘I will never give up’

Darwin Nunez scored again for Uruguay on Sunday night, but did so after two more big chances missed, with the Liverpool striker vowing to “never give up.”

Nunez made it nine goals in eight games under Uruguay manager Marcelo Bielsa as he netted a brilliant volley in their 3-1 win over Panama at Copa America.

The 25-year-old appears to enjoy more freedom with his country than he has with his club, with a growing pressure on his performances at Liverpool.

But speaking after Uruguay’s opening victory at the tournament in the United States, Nunez gave his response to critics over missed chances.

“In the end I will always miss goals, I will miss five or 10 but I will try 11 times,” he told El Observador.

“That’s what a striker has to do, when he misses five he has to keep trying and never give up because otherwise nothing will come of it in the end.”

Nunez ended the 2023/24 campaign having missed more big chances than all but one player in the Premier League, with his 27 only eclipsed by Erling Haaland’s 34.

The issue for Liverpool supporters has been that – despite the hope that as he continues to find himself in the right places things could eventually click to Haaland levels – his goal tally of 11 pales in comparison to the Norwegian’s 27.

2XDNMR7 Uruguay's Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring his side's 2nd goal against Panama during a Copa America Group C soccer match in Miami Gardens, Fla, Sunday, June 23, 2024.(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Under Bielsa, Nunez looks to have found a consistency in front of goal, but even that comes with the familiar issues with squandering easier chances than he scores.

“I didn’t expect it,” he said of his effort against Panama.

“I thought Maxi Araujo headed it, but in the end luckily it stayed there. I didn’t think and said ‘here I hit it’.”

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His assertion that he “didn’t think” before his goal aligns with the belief that he thrives as more of an instinctive striker.

The hope will be, however, that with Arne Slot arriving as Liverpool’s new head coach, he can marry this clear quality in front of goal with a more clinical edge in terms of easier chances.