Darwin Nunez was confirmed as a Liverpool player on Tuesday, and the Reds’ new forward did not hide his excitement at the opportunities that await him at Anfield.
Liverpool’s pursuit of Nunez was a swift one, in the public domain at least, quickly coming to terms with Benfica and the player for their second senior addition of the summer so far.
It makes for an exciting addition to the squad and with his first official interview for the club in the bank, here are some of the things we learned about the Reds’ new No. 27.
He’s got one Scouse phrase already!
By Nunez’s own admission, his “English is very bad” and while he is “to make sure I learn it quickly,” he’s got an important Scouse phrase in his arsenal already!
Said with gusto and with a thumbs up, he’ll settle in just fine and we’re sure the Greek Scouser will be one of many to help him on his way!
Eager to learn
At 22, there is still plenty of potential to untap from Nunez and Klopp acknowledged that he is a “work in progress,” and Nunez is ready to absorb all he can from his new teammates and manager.
“It’s great for any player that a manager can improve and polish you as a player, and I think that Klopp is going to help me hugely.
“I think the players themselves – like Firmino and the other experienced players – are going to help me greatly too.
“It will be great that Klopp can show me lots more things. I’m still only 22 and I’ve got lots that I can still learn and this is a brand new experience for me.”
It’s the perfect attitude to have and that will more than hold him in good stead for the present, and for the long-term.
A family man
There’s a common theme with Klopp’s transfer targets, they’re brilliant players but also decent human beings, as committing to the person is just as important as the talent you’re signing.
And Nunez appears no different, he comes across as humble and with his family firmly on his mind in all that he does.
“I’d like to thank my partner and my parents and my son, who is a real source of pride for me,” Nunez said.
“They’ve been really important to me in the stages in my career. I’m really proud of them, and for the work we do, me and my partner, as a team and I’m grateful to her that I’m here.
“I can tell you, I’m really enjoying it so far and enjoying being here with my partner. If my partner is happy, I am happier because your family is fundamental.”
Nunez has already had his first Anfield experience, both playing and scoring, albeit for the opposition, and it’s a taste that has him ready to feel it with fans on his side.
“It was a spectacular experience seeing what the fans are like in the stadium. It’s an incredible atmosphere,” the Uruguayan said of his Champions League visit in April.
“I think Liverpool have got absolutely everything – good players and supporters who really help the team at certain points in the game.
“So, yes, I think it is a very big club and it’s going to be great here.
“Playing there was an incredible experience and at that moment, I said to myself, ‘It must be great to actually play here.’”
We can’t wait either!
Flattered by Van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk and Nunez went head to head in the first leg between Liverpool and Benfica in Portugal, and the Dutchman later would name the forward as one of his toughest opponents.
They were words that made Nunez “really proud” and we’re sure he’s just as relieved as Van Dijk that they don’t have to face off against each other now.
“It’s really nice when another player speaks so positively about you and, of course, Van Dijk is a really quick and strong player,” Nunez said.
“The fact that he spoke really well of me was something I was really proud about and happy. So, yes, I’m proud of the effort and the hard work that I put in.”
A ‘real reference’ with Suarez
Nunez is the latest Uruguayan to become a Red and recent history makes for good reading when the two are combined, with Luis Suarez writing his name in the record books at Liverpool.
Nunez and Suarez have played together at international level, and Nunez admitted he would speak to the former No. 7 and continue to seek him out for advice and support.
“No, not yet, I’ve not had a chance to be in touch with him just yet,” the forward explained.
“But I’m sure when everything comes out on social media, I’ll give him a call or I’ll send him a photo that I’ve taken where he’s there in the background in a picture.
“I’ll send that to him and we’ll have a bit of a chat and I’ll ask him lots of questions so he can offer his support and help because he’s a real reference to me because he’s a Uruguayan footballer who made history at Liverpool.
“But, for sure, I’ll get the opportunity soon to call him and have a chat with him.”
There will be no desire to compare, but Nunez offers plenty of excitement that he can forge his own successful path at Anfield.