Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez makes Luis Suarez comparison amid first season struggles

The £85 million signing has spoken out on his form as he experiences a difficult first season in England.

Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez has likened his first season struggles to that of former Red Luis Suarez and remains optimistic that the goals will come.

Nunez arrived from Benfica in the summer as Jurgen Klopp’s star signing, but is yet to find consistency at Anfield.

Fellow Uruguayan Suarez had similar issues following his move from Ajax in January 2011 - scoring just four goals in his first season before becoming the free-scoring striker that later secured a move to Barcelona.

Nunez told Sky Sports: “Obviously, I still have many things to work on, for example my finishing. But I think the same thing is happening to me as happened to Suarez. In his second year, he tore it up.

“Something similar happened to me already at Benfica. The first year went very badly for me and in the second, I exploded. Here, I think the same thing is happening. I hope next season will be like that. I’ll put my best forward and hopefully I’ll get a bit of luck.”

Nunez has often produced moments of quality followed by moments of disappointment, which is reflected in his statistics.

In terms of big chances missed, Nunez tops the charts for that metric across Europe’s top five leagues with 15. On the other hand,Opta stats show Nunez sits fourth for non-penalty expected goals (per 90) with 0.74, sitting alongside names such as Victor Osimhen, Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski and Eddie Nketiah - you can’t dismiss the big chances missed, but it’s clear that if he continues in the same vein, the goals will come eventually.

But as he continues to adapt to the Premier League, he’s having to do so in a Liverpool side functioning below par. If Nunez had come into a side firing on all cylinders, he may have not found himself under the magnifying glass quite as intensely.

Many players would struggle to fill the position of Sadio Mane, but Nunez’s 10 goals and three assists in all competitions is superior to the likes of Chelsea’s Kai Havertz, Manchester United’s Antony and Tottenham Hotspur’s Heung-Min Son.

But a combination of the £85m price tag, Liverpool’s form and the nature of the missed chances have all collated to form a maybe unfair depiction of his time in England thus far.

His reference to compatriot Suarez is an interesting one. The Uruguayan is remembered fondly but in his first season he scored just four goals in 13 Premier League games. Suarez netted 11 league goals in his first full season, in 2011/12, before then smashing in 23 and 31 in the following campaigns.

At Nunez’s current rate, he will probably finish the league season with, more or less, a figure around 11 goals. However, it’s also worth noting Nunez is surrounded by a superior squad to that of Suarez in 2011.