Liverpool’s weekend hero Darwin Nuñez has revealed how he is channeling his ‘anger’ at not starting games into his performances.
The Reds’ number nine has been restricted to a substitute’s role so far this season, but made the best possible case for a starting berth with a match-winning brace against Newcastle at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Nuñez came off the bench with Liverpool a goal (and a man) down, but struck a pair of near identical finishes to clinch an unlikely victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Speaking after the game, Klopp intimated that Nuñez has not been happy about his limited role thus far this season. However, in an interview with Uruguay’s Sport 890, Nuñez admitted that his restricted appearances have actually had a positive impact on his performances.
He said: “The minutes I get to play I always try to give my best. When it’s my turn to be on the bench, I go in angry in a good way because I always want to prove myself.”
Nuñez was also quick to play down any suggestion that there is any problem between him and Klopp – joking that he dare not sulk with the Liverpool boss.
“Klopp is the coach and I respect his opinion,” the Uruguayan said. “I keep working in silence and I’m going to do my job in the minutes that I have. When the game ended, he hugged me. If I deny him the hug, he crosses me and I won’t play again haha!”
In the same interview, the former Benfica player also revealed how he has been getting advice from new Uruguay national team coach Marcelo Bielsa, which he is already putting into practice.
“I had a chat with Bielsa over Zoom,” Nuñez said. “He showed me some of my games and corrected some things. He tells me to run behind the second centre-back so they lose my position. It was a very good talk. He seemed like a good guy to me and a serious guy.”
Nuñez will join up with Bielsa and Uruguay for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Ecuador in September, but first Liverpool take on Aston Villa at Anfield this Sunday.
In the aftermath of the Newcastle win, Klopp responded to questions of whether Nuñez would be in the starting XI against Villa: “I never made a decision about the line-up the week before the game, we will see. But you can have worse arguments, I would say.”