Jurgen Klopp reviews Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid
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As Liverpool edge ever closer to snapping up Benfica hotshot Darwin Nunez, it seems the forward has already been sent a warning by Jurgen Klopp over what is expected of him at Anfield. The Reds are reportedly willing to smash their transfer record to sign Europe’s most sought-after striker as talks are understood to have opened, but the Uruguayan will be required to contribute more than just goals should he join Klopp’s ranks. That’s if the German’s X-rated rant from March is anything to go by.
Back then, Liverpool edged past Arsenal at the Emirates to continue their charge towards Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title. Second-half goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino saw the Reds move to within one point of their title rivals as Klopp’s forward line continued to fire his side towards the league’s summit.
However, despite all five of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Jota and Firmino contributing goals in the month of March, Klopp was far more impressed by their relentless work-rate – something which will be required of Nunez, should he join. In the wake of the Emirates win, the German declared: “We need our boys in different ways as well, it’s not just that you can be a striker who scores goals.
“If you want to be a striker for Liverpool, you have to work your f***ing socks off in each game. You have to defend the width, you have to defend whatever. That is important.”
With Nunez appearing increasingly likely of heading to Anfield this summer, it’s a strongly-worded warning the striker must heed. Last season, the 22-year-old netted a staggering 34 goals across 41 appearances in all competitions for Benfica as he asserted himself as one of the continent’s most clinical marksmen.
But to succeed as a striker at Liverpool, he’s going to need to show there’s more to has game than just goals. A key component to Klopp’s success on Merseyside in recent years has been an insistence on his side showing incessant energy levels and a relentless craving to close opponents down.
The Reds press from the front and don’t allow opposition defenders a moment’s rest. It’s an ethos Nunez will need to get on board with if he is to fulfil the hype and justify what is expected to be a club-record price tag.
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The Premier League will undoubtedly see the striker make a monstrous step up, but should Nunez heed Klopp’s X-rated warning, there’s no reason he won’t become a success at Liverpool. While there can be no disputing his goal record, it remains to be seen whether the free-scoring forward can adapt to the demands of the English football.
But should he make a point of “working his f***ing socks off” from the outset, Nunez will be a surefire hit with both Klopp and Liverpool’s expectant fanbase.
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