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‘Nunez had massive blisters and lungs ready to explode’


Darwin Nunez made his first outing in a Liverpool shirt on Tuesday as he played the final 30 minutes in the 4-0 loss to Man United, and he did so through the pain.

Nunez only linked up with his new team-mates at the end of last week, but like 31 others was thrown straight into action in Bangkok as the Reds took on United.

Jurgen Klopp named three different XIs for each half-hour, with Nunez taking his place among what could be seen as the ‘first choice’ side along with the likes of Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

It was a much-anticipated bow for the £85 million signing, but while he kept himself busy there is clearly a lot of work to do off the pitch.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp gave an early assessment of Nunez’s unofficial debut, admitting he will need to catch up in terms of fitness.

“We could see immediately the boys were really researching him,” he said.

“I think it was his third session, and I think after his third sprint his lungs were ready to explode, like we nearly killed him with these balls.

“But he offered the runs and the boys wanted to pass the ball there, so that’s, for sure, one of his strengths. He was dangerous.

“So Darwin, we will see. But I think his profile is a proper No. 9, with speed, with aggression, can use his body.”

BANGKOK, THAILAND - Tuesday, July 12, 2022: Liverpool's new signing Darwin Núñez during the Bangkok Century Cup pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at the Rajamangala National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nunez was not the only ‘debutant’ on Tuesday, as Fabio Carvalho played his first game for Liverpool following his £7.7 million switch from Fulham, and the Portuguese was among the most impressive performers in Thailand.

That came after having an extra week working at the AXA Training Centre, whereas Nunez’s quick adjustment period saw him pick up “massive blisters.”

“I understand that we have to talk about that this early, but for us it makes absolutely no sense,” he said, when questioned on his new signings.

“Fabio is in for eight days and Darwin for three days – and has massive blisters on his feet!

“I think we’ve all experienced that in our life, it doesn’t feel different for professional football players, it’s still really painful.

“But that’s the situation. As I said, a lot of good situations, I saw a lot of good performances in moments, but no consistency.”