Jürgen Klopp confident Liverpool’s Darwin Núñez can cope with fiery derby

  • Uruguayan could face Everton in Saturday lunchtime kick-off
  • ‘He is a wonderful young man, honestly. He made a mistake’

Jürgen Klopp has said there are no guarantees Darwin Núñez will always keep his emotions in check but believes the Liverpool striker can handle the ferocity of a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Nunez is available for selection against Everton having served a three-match suspension for headbutting Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen on his Anfield debut. Klopp is convinced the 23-year-old has “learned a lesson” during his time out and will not repeat the mistake that stalled the start of his Liverpool career.

“He is a wonderful young man, honestly,” said the Liverpool manager, “but he has emotions as well. He made a mistake. We didn’t speak for the full 15 days to him about it, constantly telling him ‘You have to calm down’. Of course we told him, not only now but now especially. I think even Luis Suárez told him via the media. I’m not sure they spoke privately but probably they did.

“Our ideas and how we want to think in these situations is that we pay back with football. I don’t think [James] Tarkowski and [Conor] Coady are famous for this kind of talking during a game. Most of the things in English he doesn’t understand anyway. I don’t think the two boys are like this, but who knows? We will see.”

Klopp wants Núñez, signed for a potential club record £85m from Benfica in June, to turn any verbal or physical provocation to his advantage. “If Darwin plays then he has to be ready for these things, definitely,” he added. “But when a player is talking to you a lot or is really physical then he is not in his own game, and he [Núñez] has to use these moments as well. If the other one is too busy wanting to distract him, you just have to use it from a football point of view.

“For the Crystal Palace game, when the defender is searching for this constant contact, then go from there and decide where you start the movement, these kind of things. It was a lot that came together for the boy – it was all new, it was his first home game, so a lot of excitement. The emotional level you go into a game with is already high, you don’t need a lot to be a bit too emotional.

“The two weeks helped for sure, you can see it. Will it never happen again? I don’t know, but I am pretty sure nothing will happen in the next game.”

Liverpool’s deadline day signing Arthur Melo will be unavailable on Saturday as he awaits a work permit.


Andy Hunter

The GuardianTramp

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