Charles Darwin theorised that organisms that are better equipped to survive, grow to maturity and thrive.
Darwin Núñez made his first team debut in late 2017, scoring his first professional goal in 2018. The Uruguayan moved to Benfica for a club record fee in 2020 and in 2022 he arrived on Merseyside for another record fee. His rise has been somewhat rapid and remarkable – he’s only made 162 appearances playing professional football.
His brief career with the reds has been marked with incident and comment. A red card early doors was a reality check and 23 appearances have returned 10 goals. It took Luis Suárez 27 games to reach this total for Liverpool, and Sadio Mane has scored 11 in 23 for Bayern this season. The boy’s doing ok.
Liverpool are a team in transition, in need of fine tuning when held against recent high standards. So for a player to come in, learn a new system and score at least a goal a game would take something extraordinary. Fine, that may well be happening along the M62, but it’s rare.
The man from Artigas has missed some chances, sometimes when it’s appeared easier to score. But he’s full of energy, he’s quick, he pulls defenders in differing directions, he scores goals with his head and both feet. A burgeoning relationship with Salah is becoming evident and with levels of tenacity that only seem to increase, Núñez is doing all that can be asked of him.
Players at Liverpool know Jurgen Klopp and his team will improve them. Ask Mane, Robertson, Firmino, Salah, Wijnaldum, Henderson and Alexander – Arnold. Klopp will extract their best attributes in order to make the team better. But the players must play their part in this process and there’s an expectation of absolute commitment – something Núñez does not lack.
Put him front of a rejuvenated midfield, one full of energy and guile, where passes in behind are balanced with crosses from wide. Where pressing leads to swift counter attacks – the hall marks of modern Liverpool team – and watch Darwin thrive. By this time the question of composure and nonsensical comparisons to Haaland will be a distant memory.
Evolution occurs due to natural selection – where those best suited to their environment thrive.