Exclusive: Benfica coach highlights thrilling trait Darwin Nunez shares with ‘two great players’ & issues Haaland & Diaz calls


News of Mo Salah’s fresh contract renewal has added a twist to the debate around Liverpool’s best signing this summer.

That being said, fans won’t be quick to forget the magnitude of the Reds’ £64m (guaranteed fee) acquisition of former Benfica hitman Darwin Nunez, particularly not after his Egyptian teammate shared how ‘excited’ he was to feature alongside the 23 -year-old in a new-look forward line.

Speaking to one of the Uruguayan international’s old coaches from The Eagles in Marco Pimenta, one can more than understand why the Merseysiders’ top goalscorer last term is genuinely relishing the opportunity to work alongside one of Europe’s most exciting attacking talents.

“When I was invited to work in the technical team of Head Coach Nélson Veríssimo in the main team of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, we already knew Darwin,” the 27-year-old exclusively told the Empire of the Kop.

“We knew he was a player with great physical ability, tall, strong, fast and with a tremendous capacity to score goals.

“Since the first day we could see that we were dealing with a different player with a will to always want more.

“The first season was a time to adapt to a different football and social context in Portugal.

“The second season was a time to assert himself and put all his quality on the pitch. And for that his will to improve and grow was decisive.

“On and off the field, manager Nélson Veríssimo and his technical team try to develop all his qualities in the different areas tactical, technical and physical.

“But everything is mainly due to Darwin and his capacity to work and his winning mentality.”

The former Penarol striker took both the Portuguese top-flight and Europe by storm in his final campaign with the 2021/22 Primeira Liga side, amassing a phenomenal total of 34 goals and four assists in 41 games (across all competitions).

Darwin Nunez finished as the 2021/22 season as the Primeira Liga’s top goalscorer

Acknowledged by many to have been one of the top two attacking talents in Portugal alongside ex-FC Porto wide man Luis Diaz, the future arguably couldn’t look brighter for Jurgen Klopp’s offensive options.

“In my opinion, both players are top, top footballers and Liverpool have in their hands two of best future players in the world,” Marco Pimenta continued.

READ MORE: ‘Once you hear that…’ – Fabio Carvalho’s post-Liverpool signing comments reveals transfer truth

Nonetheless, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that we have lost a world-class talent in Sadio Mane, whom commentators see Nunez as having replaced following the former’s move to Germany.

Add on top the arrival of Erling Haaland with the Norwegian international joining Premier League holders Manchester City and it’s already clear that there will be many a close eye kept on our potentially record-breaking signing for his debut season in England and how he’ll fare compared to the Sky Blues’ marquee transfer.

Nunez, Haaland, Pimenta
Manchester City addressed a key gap in the squad this summer with the purchase of Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland

For our new forward’s former coach, however, it’s a challenge Pimenta believes the 34-goal star is more equipped than to handle.

“At that level, I believe they [Haaland and Nunez] will both adapt quickly, the clubs are top clubs, the teammates will help and the fans will support them to succeed,” the Benfica assistant coach told the Empire of the Kop. “They are two of the best young players in the world and it’s going to be a spectacle for all Liverpool and Man City fans in the years to come.”

The common consensus amongst two of our summer signing’s ex-trainers is that Liverpool are getting both a supremely physically and technically gifted footballer in the £64m man.

Comparisons have inevitably been drawn between two of his compatriots who have graced the Premier League, with varying degrees of success, in Edinson Cavani and former Anfield favorite, Luis Suarez.

Whilst there may be some similarities for fans to get excited about, Jurgen Klopp’s recruitment team would appear to have secured a more unique talent than some might imagine.

“I believe Darwin will write his own story in the Premier League and Champions League,” Pimenta added. “The future belongs only to him. I think compared to Cavani and Suarez, he is a different player but with a similarity, he is a goal machine like these two great players.”

#Ep55 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Farewell Sadio Mane, Mo Salah contract hope… & more!

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