Liverpool has weapon more prolific than Haaland as Klopp risk shows clear plan A

Liverpool has a forward who is more prolific than even the formidable Erling Haaland as Jürgen Klopp’s ‘risk’ to play him against West Ham was very much justified.

The video will autaut  it comes to scoring goals, Erling Haaland has set the benchmark since he arrived in the Premier League. But Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp have been developing a potent weapon of their own to provide an antidote to Pep Guardiola’s concoction.

And that antidote has well and truly been unleashed this season, time and time again, especially over the last week against LASK and West Ham United.

From the moment he was signed, Darwin Núñez has always been measured up against Haaland. Having arrived in the same summer at England’s top two sides, those comparisons were inevitable.

But ultimately, it’s fair to say in the first season it was only Haaland who lived up to the hype. By his own standards, Núñez very much fell behind in terms of what was expected of him.

Thankfully, Rome was not built in a day, and sometimes integrating a forward even as prolific as Núñez takes time, especially in a system as meticulous as Klopp’s gegenpressing one at Anfield.

Núñez seems to have a trend of hitting the ground slowly at a club before exploding very quickly. At Benfica, he only scored 14 goals in his first season, and then set the world alight in his second.

Now based on what he has shown so far this season, it seems like history could very well be about to repeat itself.

From the moment he arrived in pre-season, it seemed like Núñez was on a mission. He scored plenty of goals in pre-season and looked like a completely different, altogether frightening prospect.

Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez during Liverpool's win over West Ham
Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez during Liverpool’s win over West Ham (Image: Getty Images)

Now Núñez has carried that form in the regular season as well. With a crucial brace to turn the game around against Newcastle, followed by an assist against Aston Villa and a goal midweek against LASK (as well as another assist), the Uruguayan has proven clutch time and time again already this season.

But against West Ham, it would have been easy for Klopp to demote him to the bench. Having picked up a niggle during the international break, to start him consecutively in two games in such a short space of time was definitely a risk.

But it was a risk that paid dividends.

Núñez’s goal to take the lead was very much a catalyst in the game, and gave Liverpool yet another clutch moment from the Uruguayan.

Now averaging a goal contribution every 52 minutes at club level, Núñez is more prolific than Haaland himself, who ‘only’ contributes a goal every 87 minutes so far.

Even with overall goal contributions, Núñez is breathing down the neck of Haaland with six, just three behind the Norwegian who has played 463 minutes more.

It has taken time for him to get going in a Liverpool shirt, but once Núñez finds his golden clutch he has proven at Benfica already that he is impossible to stop. Liverpool will hope that trend is going to continue at Anfield, too.

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