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1 hour ago, Cam said:

A lot of moves broke down at Mane - balls were bouncing off him or he would try the same thing again & again & again. Once defenders had the better of him it usually stayed that way.

Plus he had become very wasteful. Forwards in great teams who get a lot of chances can be quite profligate but Mane mused a lot of easy chances, like a LOT. A number of games he would miss 3 or 4 easy chances.

On a Bayern forum somewhere, someone is saying 'Not sure about this Mane signing, been reading their forums and they're saying he was well past his best' while someone else wisely points out 'they always say that when they're leaving'.

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Just now, psl said:

On a Bayern forum somewhere, someone is saying 'Not sure about this Mane signing, been reading their forums and they're saying he was well past his best' while someone else wisely points out 'they always say that when they're leaving'.

kein Fisch Wortspiel?

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11 minutes ago, psl said:

On a Bayern forum somewhere, someone is saying 'Not sure about this Mane signing, been reading their forums and they're saying he was well past his best' while someone else wisely points out 'they always say that when they're leaving'.

Hopefully it'll give him a new lease of life and make us regret it a little. 

Hopefully Nunez scoring 25 will restrict that regret to a minimum. 

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22 minutes ago, Bogman said:

Ich Liebe Dick.

 

17 minutes ago, Smith said:

No worries mate, it’s all good. New times an’ all!

I don't know about the German translation of the novel, but the original is a brilliant piece of experimental and performative writing!

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On 15/06/2022 at 08:50, Conrad said:

That may also be to do with not being overly excited by football at the moment. I haven't watched a single minute since Paris.

 

 

Let your brain know that’s because it was the last game of the season

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22 hours ago, Leo No.8 said:

I think if you look back through the Mane thread from 2020 up until the turn of this year, most on here felt he had lost a step and were ready to move on.

Moving him into a central role gave him a new lease of life, and his finishing was as good as it’s ever been for us but the eye test over a couple of years said he wasn’t the player he had been physically.

We've never had a centre forward like Nunez under Klopp with exceptional pace and size so I’m really interested to see where this goes.

Great managers continue to evolve their team and improve it around moving great players on at the right time. We’ll see if that happens here but I couldn’t be any more confident in Jurgen.

Sadio seemed to lose that burst of speed where he used to shift the ball quickly and beat the defender 

He gave everything for several seasons, covered Robbo more often than Salah with Trent and it seems to have taken it's toll 

We finished with four in attack a few times last season - we might start more games like that against weaker teams who'll start with 9 behind the ball 

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49 minutes ago, Earl Hafler said:

Sadio seemed to lose that burst of speed where he used to shift the ball quickly and beat the defender 

He gave everything for several seasons, covered Robbo more often than Salah with Trent and it seems to have taken it's toll 

We finished with four in attack a few times last season - we might start more games like that against weaker teams who'll start with 9 behind the ball 

I read a year back that he mentioned not having a break in 5 years. This will now be 6 rolling on 7. He's probably in need of a serious rest which he won't get. 

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3 hours ago, Romario said:

I read a year back that he mentioned not having a break in 5 years. This will now be 6 rolling on 7. He's probably in need of a serious rest which he won't get. 

Why doesn't he take breaks during the summer break? 

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3 hours ago, Kid Klopp said:

Why doesn't he take breaks during the summer break? 

Sounds like he's always playing for Senegal. 

Mané was ruled out of the Senegalese squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after suffering a calf injury in Southampton's 2–0 win against Arsenal on 1 January 2015.[99] He later returned to the squad, and started in their final two group matches against South Africa and Algeria in a group stage exit.[100][101]

Mané represented Senegal at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and scored a goal in each of the nation's opening two games, 2–0 wins against Tunisia and Zimbabwe.[102] After a goalless draw in the quarter-final clash against Cameroon, he missed the penalty in the shoot-out that saw Senegal eliminated from the tournament.[103]

In May 2018, Mané was named in Senegal's 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[104] He scored the opening goal in a 2–2 draw against Japan in the group stage.[105] Mané started all three of Senegal's group matches as they were eliminated after the first stage, finishing below Japan on fair play points.[106]

Mané was once again called up to Senegal's final squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[107] He scored two goals and missed a penalty in a 3–0 win against Kenya, as Senegal finished second in the group stage and qualified for the knockout stage.[108] Mané scored the only goal of the match and missed another penalty in Senegal's 1–0 win over Uganda in the round of 16.[109] He played in Senegal's next three matches as they advanced to the final, losing 1–0 to Algeria in a rematch of Senegal's opening game of the tournament.[110] Despite finishing the competition as runner-up, Mané was named to the Team of the Tournament.[111]

At the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Mané starred for Senegal as they won the competition for the first time. In the final against Egypt – a match which saw him go up against his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah – Mané saw his penalty saved in the 7th minute, but went on to score the winning kick in the penalty shootout.[112] As well as scoring the decisive kick to win the trophy, Mané scored three goals and had two assists prior to the final, and was named the player of the tournament.[113] In the third round of the 2022 World Cup qualifications, he also scored the winning kick in the penalty shootout against Egypt after a 1–1 draw on aggregate, in order to qualify his country to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[114]

On 4 June 2022, Mané scored a hat-trick in a 3–1 win against Benin in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification, to become Senegal's all-time top scorer with 32 goals, surpassing Henri Camara.[115]

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19 minutes ago, PaulMcC186 said:

Crouch was never close to getting sent off. Mane was nearly off in Europe about 5 times. All for playing the defender like they played him.

Wonder if his treatment by the refs in the league influenced his decision to leave,  you'd expect he'd be getting a lot more fouls awarded playing for Bayern in Germany 

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4 minutes ago, Hassony said:

Wonder if his treatment by the refs in the league influenced his decision to leave,  you'd expect he'd be getting a lot more fouls awarded playing for Bayern in Germany 

I thought European refs were even harsher on him than English refs. 

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Some interesting bits in here from Si Hughes about potential formations next year, Firmino and Nunez.

Liverpool’s scouts were called to a meeting at the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby last month, where prominent figures from the club’s recruitment department challenged them to improve.

A necessary message, apparently, not because standards have slipped but because of the fear they might.

The operation at Liverpool is one of the most respected in European football but this is a period of change, with Julian Ward taking over from Michael Edwards as sporting director.

The transition has been gradual and subtle rather than sudden and significant, but Ward cannot afford for any of the employees representing him in the field to let up — even if the division he now leads is earning more recognition for the stealth and speed at which it has brokered deals for Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez across successive transfer windows.

It is a sign that nobody in a position of influence at Liverpool believes they have cracked the market.

Ward’s watchers were also impressed by Benfica’s Rafa Silva in the process of their research on Nunez and had the right-sided attacker been a few years younger, then maybe Mohamed Salah’s future would have become a little clearer.

Instead, the Portugal international — who turned 29 in May — remains in Lisbon and Salah will form part of a Liverpool forward line next season, which will pose new questions for rivals because of a redesign.

Like Ward, Jurgen Klopp does not think the team he leads is infallible. Last season, Liverpool found it harder against opponents like Tottenham Hotspur, whose point at Anfield tipped the title race in Manchester City’s favour. Spurs could have won that night, having defended well from their 18-yard line as a narrow back five, keeping the ball in front of them as much as possible before targeting the space left by Liverpool’s attacking full-backs.

As the campaign climaxed, Klopp’s tactical adjustments in each of Liverpool’s final two games were understandably lost as the story of the day switched towards City reclaiming the Premier League title and Real Madrid succeeding in the Champions League final.

Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, whose set-up was similar to Spurs, Liverpool had toiled until Klopp switched from the 4-3-3 formation to 4-2-3-1 with the introduction of Roberto Firmino as a No 10. Though Firmino’s touch was off for the remaining 20 minutes of the game, his presence freed up space for those around him. A 1-1 draw became a 3-1 victory – not that it seemed to really matter given the afternoon ended with celebrations in Manchester.

The following weekend in Paris, Klopp turned to Firmino again and he had more joy individually but could not change the course of the game. Carlo Ancelotti’s assessment of Liverpool’s predictability after Real Madrid’s victory was damming.

“It helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others because they have a very clear identity and we could prepare the way that we did,” he said. “We knew what strategy to take — don’t give them space behind the defence to run into. Perhaps our football wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful on an aesthetic level, but playing out from the back to incentivise their pressing wasn’t a great idea.”

Firmino’s future has barely been spoken about given the focus on Salah and Sadio Mane but Klopp clearly still values him. Perhaps the arrival of Nunez will give the Brazilian an opportunity to redefine himself for a second time in his Liverpool career and alter the threat angles from the team as a whole.

Firmino arrived in 2015 as an attacking midfielder and was initially deployed on the right. For six years, he was Klopp’s centre-forward but Diogo Jota’s yield and the performances of Mane in the position last season seemed to bring that era to an end.

In 2021-22, Firmino played just 20 league games but that number will surely increase if Klopp accommodates Nunez and makes Liverpool less predictable by using a shape he was familiar with at Borussia Dortmund.

At Kirkby, it is still believed that Firmino’s touch is better than any other player. His capacity to connect team-mates and drag defenders around could prove to be vital if Klopp leads with 4-2-3-1 or leans on it when the going gets tough. The addition of Fabio Carvalho will also help Klopp in this area.

During his time as Liverpool’s manager, Klopp has deployed his team from the beginning of matches in a 4-3-3 formation on 300 occasions. Thirty-five times, he has used 4-2-3-1 and in 13 games, 4-4-2. This preference has led to Liverpool’s creation points being in the wide areas.

Last season, Liverpool created 29 per cent of their chances from central areas of the pitch compared to 38 per cent from the right and 33 per cent from the left.

Across the league, Liverpool’s record from central areas was the fifth lowest. Adding a No 10, therefore, might improve creativity from the centre and overload an opponent’s back five with as many as six attacking players (four attackers plus the full-backs).

As an energetic forward who relishes one-on-one battles with defenders, it is thought Nunez’s presence will help Liverpool pin other teams back and give those behind him the room to do damage. A tactical switch of this kind would suit Thiago, allowing him to create from deeper positions while also offering Liverpool double the protection in midfield from any counter-attack.

There is a confidence that Nunez will be able to adjust quickly to Liverpool and the Premier League. 

One of the vogue online jokes relates to Liverpool’s longstanding interest in the players they sign. Roberto Firmino? His talent was recognised fresh from the womb — but, of course, they waited until he was mature enough to move him to Anfield.

There is, however, something that connects Firmino to Nunez, in that both players emerged far away from their country’s cultural centres — and, therefore, far away from any believable vantage point.

Firmino was born in Maceio, more than a thousand miles to the north of Rio de Janeiro, and Nunez was brought up in Artigas, a town on the opposite side of Uruguay to Montevideo. Salah and Mane were the same — forwards whose lives were defined by Egyptian and Senegalese villages before they became national heroes.

In that process, there has been rejection and sacrifice. Firmino was turned away from some of the biggest clubs in Brazil, Salah was ignored in his homeland and Mane’s route to the top was indirect and without certainty.

Klopp tends to work well with characters like these because he knows — as with himself — the desire to prove something has the potential to propel a career further than any natural ability.

Liverpool did not know about Nunez in Artigas, but they do now and this increased the belief that he possessed the right profile for them. They knew, for example, that the first time he went to Penarol, the most famous club in Uruguay said no. They also knew that when he returned, he found it difficult to adapt, and that years later, he suffered a serious injury and almost gave up football.

In 2013, Juan Ahuntchain had taken over as a coaching coordinator at Penarol when he received a call from Nico Gomez about an “interesting” footballer in Artigas, where he operated as a scout. Gomez was going to send him three boys but there was also Nunez, who had already been turned away by Penarol.

Jose Perdomo, a former club captain who led Penarol to the Copa Libertadores title in 1987, was dispatched to the north of the country. In Nunez, he saw a pair of skinny legs but after only a few touches of the ball he could see that he had the speed, power and courage to pass defenders who were bigger than him: a “European-type”.

The boy from the interior did not like it in Montevideo. He missed Artigas, where he returned only to be convinced back again by his representative Edgardo Laslavia, who made living arrangements for him to stay in a house that could accommodate his parents whenever they wanted to visit.

Nunez liked to train, and he listened closely to the advice of the coaches. He began to grow. His running strides became longer, he became more aggressive in everything he did, including his shooting.

This earned him a promotion to the first-team set-up at 17. He would still play for the under-18s, however, and in his desperation to prove himself, he started to do too much during youth games. This led to him tearing a cruciate knee ligament. Though he was told initially the recovery would last six months, it was nearly a year before he was training fully again and during this time, he told coaches that he felt an enormous weight of pressure, “that everyone was betting on him and he could not provide answers”, according to Perdomo.

Though he thought about quitting football and returning to Artigas, “we convinced him with his team-mates not to leave”, Perdomo recalled. “His team-mates were very important because they contained him when things didn’t work out.”

In November 2017, he made his first-team debut, but his knee still wasn’t right and he did not feel ready to play. Through gritted teeth, he proceeded but this led to him needing a second operation.

His entry point to professional football was not easy. By 2018, he was playing regularly for Penarol but struggling to score. There was criticism from journalists and fans. Upon his departure from the club to Almeria in 2019, he had not convinced everyone that he was ready for Europe. Those who really knew him, however — men such as Perdomo and Ahuntchain — saw his potential in a more positive light.

His performances for Almeria attracted attention from the Premier League. In the summer of 2020, Brighton & Hove Albion thought they were close to securing a deal for him having previously dealt with the Spanish club over the transfers of Leonardo Ulloa and Tomer Hemed. Almeria had just been beaten in the second-division play-offs but COVID-19 restrictions put a spanner in the works because they could not bring him to England for face-to-face talks.

Nunez was regarded then by Graham Potter as a younger, more mobile version of the 36-year-old Glenn Murray. He went to Benfica, instead, after the Portuguese champions missed out on Edinson Cavani when he joined Manchester United, prompting the Portuguese giants to switch their attention.

Last summer, Brighton tried again but found the process complicated this time because Benfica were trying to reach the Champions League group stages. The price kept going up and once Benfica had qualified, they weren’t interested in selling.

In January, West Ham believed they were very close to securing a £45 million deal but Benfica were never likely to sell at that price when they had progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League, which meant that the player’s price had the potential to skyrocket.

That is exactly what happened. Before Liverpool’s quarter-final with Benfica — where Nunez scored in each leg — Manchester United had arranged to meet Benfica’s president Rui Costa to discuss a deal but Costa and his family suffered food poisoning celebrating his birthday. With the meeting postponed, United officials were unconvinced and took it as a snub. It did not help United that new manager Erik ten Hag, who likes Nunez a lot having seen him score against Ajax in the Champions League, was not appointed by the time Liverpool started to gain headway in their pursuit. Ten Hag, it is believed, has also since prioritised other positions for improvement — particularly midfield.

After a 3-3 draw at Anfield, Klopp approached Benfica’s caretaker manager Nelson Verissimo and congratulated him for his team’s run in the competition, along with their performance in the game. During that exchange, he also told Verissimo that in Nunez, Benfica were in possession of a fine footballer.

Geography had made it easier for Liverpool to examine Nunez’s development since moving to Spain three years ago. The reports on the club’s database go back to Penarol, however, where he was a team-mate of midfielder Maxi Rodriguez, the former Liverpool midfielder who testified for the player’s appetite in training.

According to Rodriguez, he was a “fighter”, who always turned up early and seemed to push himself further than any of the club’s youngest players. For Klopp — who takes time-keeping very seriously — this was another reason to bring him to Anfield and place him at the centre of his second Liverpool.

When he rocked up in Kirkby last week to pose for photographs and conduct interviews with the club’s in-house media team, he lived up to his reputation by arriving much earlier than anyone expected.

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10 minutes ago, Dan said:

Some interesting bits in here from Si Hughes about potential formations next year, Firmino and Nunez.

Liverpool’s scouts were called to a meeting at the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby last month, where prominent figures from the club’s recruitment department challenged them to improve.

A necessary message, apparently, not because standards have slipped but because of the fear they might.

The operation at Liverpool is one of the most respected in European football but this is a period of change, with Julian Ward taking over from Michael Edwards as sporting director.

The transition has been gradual and subtle rather than sudden and significant, but Ward cannot afford for any of the employees representing him in the field to let up — even if the division he now leads is earning more recognition for the stealth and speed at which it has brokered deals for Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez across successive transfer windows.

It is a sign that nobody in a position of influence at Liverpool believes they have cracked the market.

Ward’s watchers were also impressed by Benfica’s Rafa Silva in the process of their research on Nunez and had the right-sided attacker been a few years younger, then maybe Mohamed Salah’s future would have become a little clearer.

Instead, the Portugal international — who turned 29 in May — remains in Lisbon and Salah will form part of a Liverpool forward line next season, which will pose new questions for rivals because of a redesign.

Like Ward, Jurgen Klopp does not think the team he leads is infallible. Last season, Liverpool found it harder against opponents like Tottenham Hotspur, whose point at Anfield tipped the title race in Manchester City’s favour. Spurs could have won that night, having defended well from their 18-yard line as a narrow back five, keeping the ball in front of them as much as possible before targeting the space left by Liverpool’s attacking full-backs.

As the campaign climaxed, Klopp’s tactical adjustments in each of Liverpool’s final two games were understandably lost as the story of the day switched towards City reclaiming the Premier League title and Real Madrid succeeding in the Champions League final.

Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, whose set-up was similar to Spurs, Liverpool had toiled until Klopp switched from the 4-3-3 formation to 4-2-3-1 with the introduction of Roberto Firmino as a No 10. Though Firmino’s touch was off for the remaining 20 minutes of the game, his presence freed up space for those around him. A 1-1 draw became a 3-1 victory – not that it seemed to really matter given the afternoon ended with celebrations in Manchester.

The following weekend in Paris, Klopp turned to Firmino again and he had more joy individually but could not change the course of the game. Carlo Ancelotti’s assessment of Liverpool’s predictability after Real Madrid’s victory was damming.

“It helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others because they have a very clear identity and we could prepare the way that we did,” he said. “We knew what strategy to take — don’t give them space behind the defence to run into. Perhaps our football wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful on an aesthetic level, but playing out from the back to incentivise their pressing wasn’t a great idea.”

Firmino’s future has barely been spoken about given the focus on Salah and Sadio Mane but Klopp clearly still values him. Perhaps the arrival of Nunez will give the Brazilian an opportunity to redefine himself for a second time in his Liverpool career and alter the threat angles from the team as a whole.

Firmino arrived in 2015 as an attacking midfielder and was initially deployed on the right. For six years, he was Klopp’s centre-forward but Diogo Jota’s yield and the performances of Mane in the position last season seemed to bring that era to an end.

In 2021-22, Firmino played just 20 league games but that number will surely increase if Klopp accommodates Nunez and makes Liverpool less predictable by using a shape he was familiar with at Borussia Dortmund.

At Kirkby, it is still believed that Firmino’s touch is better than any other player. His capacity to connect team-mates and drag defenders around could prove to be vital if Klopp leads with 4-2-3-1 or leans on it when the going gets tough. The addition of Fabio Carvalho will also help Klopp in this area.

During his time as Liverpool’s manager, Klopp has deployed his team from the beginning of matches in a 4-3-3 formation on 300 occasions. Thirty-five times, he has used 4-2-3-1 and in 13 games, 4-4-2. This preference has led to Liverpool’s creation points being in the wide areas.

Last season, Liverpool created 29 per cent of their chances from central areas of the pitch compared to 38 per cent from the right and 33 per cent from the left.

Across the league, Liverpool’s record from central areas was the fifth lowest. Adding a No 10, therefore, might improve creativity from the centre and overload an opponent’s back five with as many as six attacking players (four attackers plus the full-backs).

As an energetic forward who relishes one-on-one battles with defenders, it is thought Nunez’s presence will help Liverpool pin other teams back and give those behind him the room to do damage. A tactical switch of this kind would suit Thiago, allowing him to create from deeper positions while also offering Liverpool double the protection in midfield from any counter-attack.

There is a confidence that Nunez will be able to adjust quickly to Liverpool and the Premier League. 

One of the vogue online jokes relates to Liverpool’s longstanding interest in the players they sign. Roberto Firmino? His talent was recognised fresh from the womb — but, of course, they waited until he was mature enough to move him to Anfield.

There is, however, something that connects Firmino to Nunez, in that both players emerged far away from their country’s cultural centres — and, therefore, far away from any believable vantage point.

Firmino was born in Maceio, more than a thousand miles to the north of Rio de Janeiro, and Nunez was brought up in Artigas, a town on the opposite side of Uruguay to Montevideo. Salah and Mane were the same — forwards whose lives were defined by Egyptian and Senegalese villages before they became national heroes.

In that process, there has been rejection and sacrifice. Firmino was turned away from some of the biggest clubs in Brazil, Salah was ignored in his homeland and Mane’s route to the top was indirect and without certainty.

Klopp tends to work well with characters like these because he knows — as with himself — the desire to prove something has the potential to propel a career further than any natural ability.

Liverpool did not know about Nunez in Artigas, but they do now and this increased the belief that he possessed the right profile for them. They knew, for example, that the first time he went to Penarol, the most famous club in Uruguay said no. They also knew that when he returned, he found it difficult to adapt, and that years later, he suffered a serious injury and almost gave up football.

In 2013, Juan Ahuntchain had taken over as a coaching coordinator at Penarol when he received a call from Nico Gomez about an “interesting” footballer in Artigas, where he operated as a scout. Gomez was going to send him three boys but there was also Nunez, who had already been turned away by Penarol.

Jose Perdomo, a former club captain who led Penarol to the Copa Libertadores title in 1987, was dispatched to the north of the country. In Nunez, he saw a pair of skinny legs but after only a few touches of the ball he could see that he had the speed, power and courage to pass defenders who were bigger than him: a “European-type”.

The boy from the interior did not like it in Montevideo. He missed Artigas, where he returned only to be convinced back again by his representative Edgardo Laslavia, who made living arrangements for him to stay in a house that could accommodate his parents whenever they wanted to visit.

Nunez liked to train, and he listened closely to the advice of the coaches. He began to grow. His running strides became longer, he became more aggressive in everything he did, including his shooting.

This earned him a promotion to the first-team set-up at 17. He would still play for the under-18s, however, and in his desperation to prove himself, he started to do too much during youth games. This led to him tearing a cruciate knee ligament. Though he was told initially the recovery would last six months, it was nearly a year before he was training fully again and during this time, he told coaches that he felt an enormous weight of pressure, “that everyone was betting on him and he could not provide answers”, according to Perdomo.

Though he thought about quitting football and returning to Artigas, “we convinced him with his team-mates not to leave”, Perdomo recalled. “His team-mates were very important because they contained him when things didn’t work out.”

In November 2017, he made his first-team debut, but his knee still wasn’t right and he did not feel ready to play. Through gritted teeth, he proceeded but this led to him needing a second operation.

His entry point to professional football was not easy. By 2018, he was playing regularly for Penarol but struggling to score. There was criticism from journalists and fans. Upon his departure from the club to Almeria in 2019, he had not convinced everyone that he was ready for Europe. Those who really knew him, however — men such as Perdomo and Ahuntchain — saw his potential in a more positive light.

His performances for Almeria attracted attention from the Premier League. In the summer of 2020, Brighton & Hove Albion thought they were close to securing a deal for him having previously dealt with the Spanish club over the transfers of Leonardo Ulloa and Tomer Hemed. Almeria had just been beaten in the second-division play-offs but COVID-19 restrictions put a spanner in the works because they could not bring him to England for face-to-face talks.

Nunez was regarded then by Graham Potter as a younger, more mobile version of the 36-year-old Glenn Murray. He went to Benfica, instead, after the Portuguese champions missed out on Edinson Cavani when he joined Manchester United, prompting the Portuguese giants to switch their attention.

Last summer, Brighton tried again but found the process complicated this time because Benfica were trying to reach the Champions League group stages. The price kept going up and once Benfica had qualified, they weren’t interested in selling.

In January, West Ham believed they were very close to securing a £45 million deal but Benfica were never likely to sell at that price when they had progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League, which meant that the player’s price had the potential to skyrocket.

That is exactly what happened. Before Liverpool’s quarter-final with Benfica — where Nunez scored in each leg — Manchester United had arranged to meet Benfica’s president Rui Costa to discuss a deal but Costa and his family suffered food poisoning celebrating his birthday. With the meeting postponed, United officials were unconvinced and took it as a snub. It did not help United that new manager Erik ten Hag, who likes Nunez a lot having seen him score against Ajax in the Champions League, was not appointed by the time Liverpool started to gain headway in their pursuit. Ten Hag, it is believed, has also since prioritised other positions for improvement — particularly midfield.

After a 3-3 draw at Anfield, Klopp approached Benfica’s caretaker manager Nelson Verissimo and congratulated him for his team’s run in the competition, along with their performance in the game. During that exchange, he also told Verissimo that in Nunez, Benfica were in possession of a fine footballer.

Geography had made it easier for Liverpool to examine Nunez’s development since moving to Spain three years ago. The reports on the club’s database go back to Penarol, however, where he was a team-mate of midfielder Maxi Rodriguez, the former Liverpool midfielder who testified for the player’s appetite in training.

According to Rodriguez, he was a “fighter”, who always turned up early and seemed to push himself further than any of the club’s youngest players. For Klopp — who takes time-keeping very seriously — this was another reason to bring him to Anfield and place him at the centre of his second Liverpool.

When he rocked up in Kirkby last week to pose for photographs and conduct interviews with the club’s in-house media team, he lived up to his reputation by arriving much earlier than anyone expected.

So we spent €80m on the Uruguayan Glenn Murray 🙄 

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1 hour ago, Dan said:

Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, whose set-up was similar to Spurs, Liverpool had toiled until Klopp switched from the 4-3-3 formation to 4-2-3-1 with the introduction of Roberto Firmino as a No 10. Though Firmino’s touch was off for the remaining 20 minutes of the game, his presence freed up space for those around him. A 1-1 draw became a 3-1 victory – not that it seemed to really matter given the afternoon ended with celebrations in Manchester.

The following weekend in Paris, Klopp turned to Firmino again and he had more joy individually but could not change the course of the game. Carlo Ancelotti’s assessment of Liverpool’s predictability after Real Madrid’s victory was damming.

“It helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others because they have a very clear identity and we could prepare the way that we did,” he said. “We knew what strategy to take — don’t give them space behind the defence to run into. Perhaps our football wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful on an aesthetic level, but playing out from the back to incentivise their pressing wasn’t a great idea.”

Firmino’s future has barely been spoken about given the focus on Salah and Sadio Mane but Klopp clearly still values him. Perhaps the arrival of Nunez will give the Brazilian an opportunity to redefine himself for a second time in his Liverpool career and alter the threat angles from the team as a whole.

Firmino arrived in 2015 as an attacking midfielder and was initially deployed on the right. For six years, he was Klopp’s centre-forward but Diogo Jota’s yield and the performances of Mane in the position last season seemed to bring that era to an end.

In 2021-22, Firmino played just 20 league games but that number will surely increase if Klopp accommodates Nunez and makes Liverpool less predictable by using a shape he was familiar with at Borussia Dortmund.

At Kirkby, it is still believed that Firmino’s touch is better than any other player. His capacity to connect team-mates and drag defenders around could prove to be vital if Klopp leads with 4-2-3-1 or leans on it when the going gets tough. The addition of Fabio Carvalho will also help Klopp in this area.

During his time as Liverpool’s manager, Klopp has deployed his team from the beginning of matches in a 4-3-3 formation on 300 occasions. Thirty-five times, he has used 4-2-3-1 and in 13 games, 4-4-2. This preference has led to Liverpool’s creation points being in the wide areas.

Last season, Liverpool created 29 per cent of their chances from central areas of the pitch compared to 38 per cent from the right and 33 per cent from the left.

 

 

 

 

Not @surf’s words @Kvarme Ate My Food, the words of The Athletic magazine. 
 


 

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