Darwin Núñez is not one of the players Liverpool turned to when they are trailing a game with 10 men, but he delivered big time for the Reds today as they rallied from a goal down to stun Newcastle away from home. Although Darwin Núñez has not had the best start to his Liverpool career due to injuries and some inexplainable misses, he is still a fan favourite of the Kop and finally repaired their faith with two clinical finishes. While many would focus on the controversial card incidents with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk, it does not take away the reality that Darwin Núñez stole the limelight for himself at St. James’ Park.
Darwin Núñez Chanels His Inner Luis Suárez
When you ask Liverpool fans about a Uruguayan striker who always delivers goals, many would answer Luis Suárez. However, after his performance today against Newcastle, Darwin Núñez deserves to be in the conversation with the former Liverpool striker. While Darwin Núñez does not score as much as Luis Suárez, he is arguably more clutch than his predecessor, as his goals contributed to a trophy for Liverpool. Remember his goal against Manchester City in the 2022 FA Community Shield?
Comparison is inevitable when the two players share many similarities, but it is all just fan settlement. In reality, many players seek guidance from their comparisons and take it as motivation to do even better. For example, Darwin Núñez looks up to Luis Suárez as his idol, while the latter responds by offering his life advice in the Premier League.
The most memorable interaction between the two must be when Luis Suárez called Darwin Núñez after his sending-off and urged him to listen to an idiot like him and not commit the same mistake. “Luis told me that these things will happen in every game in the Premier League, that they’ll come and find me, that they will bump into me, and that I need to make myself strong and not repeat my screw-up. I really appreciate that message and the fondness he has for me.”
Darwin Nunez has said Luis Suarez messaged him after his red card against Crystal Palace that “he needs to make myself strong and not repeat my screw-up and to “listen to an idiot like me.”
— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) October 27, 2022
Darwin Núñez Continues and Extends Liverpool’s Records
To everyone’s surprise, Liverpool was the only team last season to beat Newcastle home and away, considering the final placement of the two. However, if we look further back, Liverpool has not lost against Newcastle in 14 matches throughout 8 years. It is a record many expected the Magpies to break after what occurred in the first half, but thanks to the heroics of Darwin Núñez, the streak continues as Liverpool continue their dominance against the black and whites.
Furthermore, Darwin Núñez also extends Liverpool’s record of having the most winning goals after 90 minutes with 42. Their closest competitors are Arsenal and Spurs, with 30 and 29 respectively. While it was all smooth sailing for Darwin Núñez, it was all doom and gloom for Virgil van Dijk as he received his first red card in 177 league appearances and his first for the Reds.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 27, 2023
Jürgen Klopp’s Official Post-Match Statement: “I Never Had a Game Like This, That Is the Truth.”
While Liverpool fans are happy that Darwin Núñez’s goals save them from disappointment, many neutral fans are left disappointed as the result caused the Liverpool boss to tone down his expected fiery onslaught. In his post-match conference, Jürgen Klopp starts by praising his players about the comeback: “My boys kept believing, and I am delighted about that as I think in my 1,000 games as a coach or a manager I never had a game like this, that is the truth.”
When inquired about his opinions of the sending-off, Klopp responded: “I do not think it is a red card. It is pretty much no contact, minimal at best, and it is on the way to the ball, but what can I say? I cannot change the decision. It is just, would I give this in a training game? Definitely not. There are reasons why I am not a ref, and they are.”
Lastly, Klopp also gave his verdict on the potential second yellow card for Arnold: “As an observation, not a sending-off. There is a foul on Trent Alexander-Arnold, which is not given clear in front of the fourth official [And he] says to me, Yes, it is a foul. The ref did not give it, and Trent kicked the ball away – his fault. Ok, yellow. For the second situation, if you want a second yellow, if he gives it, he gives it, but I did not think it is.”
Jürgen Klopp said he had never experienced anything like our ‘super-special’ 2-1 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park 👇
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 27, 2023
Justice for Liverpool or Injustice for Newcastle?
After the climax of a dramatic finale, many would argue that justice was served correctly for Liverpool as they came out the victors after the controversial sending-off. However, was it an injustice for Newcastle? Prior to the dismissal of the Liverpool skipper, Trent Alexander-Arnold committed two fouls in the space of two minutes, which sparked public debate.
While the first booking seems harsh as it is a wrong decision by the ref, according to Klopp, the second incident was definitely bookable as he stopped Gordon from bursting forward. For the sending-off, it was extremely harsh as the Dutchman seemed to get most of the ball and less of the man. However, did he go through the player before getting the ball? It is a discussion best left to the experts. Let us know your thoughts about the incidents in the comments below.