NewsJürgen Klopp on Nunez 'love', Ramsay fitness and Carvalho roles
Jürgen Klopp and his coaches already knew all about the qualities of Darwin Nunez but they ‘fell in love’ with the Uruguay international when he played against Liverpool.
Two months before signing for the Reds on a long-term contract in June, Nunez lined up in opposition for Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The forward scored in both legs – and had another two disallowed at Anfield – as Klopp’s men ultimately ran out 6-4 winners on aggregate.
And his performances across the duration of the tie cemented the belief among the Liverpool staff that Nunez would be an ideal recruit for the club.
WATCH: Darwin Nunez against the Reds
“It was massively impressive when he played in front of us,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com of the No.27, who will join up with his new teammates for the first time as they embark on a tour of Thailand and Singapore this weekend.
“When you prepare Benfica, you know up to the size of shoes – we know absolutely everything about an opponent, so we know exactly about the quality of Darwin.
“It was not clear if he would play because he came back from internationals, in the first game that was. It was clear that he was really good. But when you see it then live, it was really impressive.
“The power and the mix-up with technique, the desire, smart moves, the problems he caused us. We fell all in love in these two games. A very aggressive South American, it’s a good thing!
“It was really a joy to watch him and so when we realised we had a good chance to sign him, we were all-in and we’re really happy he’s here now.”
Liverpool have also added Portugal U21 international Fabio Carvalho, a Championship winner with Fulham last season, and right-back Calvin Ramsay – the Scottish Football Writers’ Association’s 2021-22 Young Player of the Year – to the squad this summer.
Both began life on Merseyside with pre-season training this week, though the manager revealed Ramsay’s integration has been delayed slightly by a minor fitness issue.
Klopp went on to outline why the pair’s blend of long-term potential and early experience made them such sought-after signings ahead of the new campaign.
“Because of their quality,” he said of the reasons for bringing Carvalho and Ramsay to the club. “The quality is the first thing and then the age comes in.
“Because if you have quality and you are 32 I’m very interested, to be honest. But quality and being 18 or 19, playing already an awful lot of games, having a real impact in their team performance for their former clubs, it’s rare. And both had that.
“Unfortunately, Calvin is now not training with us in the moment, he has a little injury. Nobody knew, we found it when he did his medical check. Until today he has no problems but the medical department tells us if we don’t take care for that now, he will have a problem in the future.
“So, when you are that young then of course he has a long career ahead of him, so we are very responsible in these moments, so he didn’t train yet with the team but is doing a lot of fitness work. So, it will not take too long I think.
“So I didn’t see him yet in training but everything we saw about him, we heard about him, I heard from him: a fantastic boy. And what a player he is, what he did for Aberdeen last year, absolutely exceptional.
“In his age group and you know the things we need from a full-back, he is as close as it gets to the things we want and is still a kid. So we really expect a lot from him in the long term.
“Fabio, wow, what a season he played with Fulham. Getting promoted [with a] football-playing [style], properly football-playing, is not easy.
“So, Marco Silva obviously did an incredible job there, but a big part of that was absolutely Fabio. And Harry Wilson obviously, our former [player], and Neco [Williams] of course.
“When we watched him it was a pure joy to watch him, absolutely. He can play so many different positions for us, the way we play. At the minute he’s not really set on one position – it’s the wing, it’s the eight, it’s the 10, it’s the false nine if he grows a few more muscles.
“It’s a short-term and a long-term project; he can start tomorrow and he needs to adapt, you can see that a little bit, but when he has the ball that’s proper quality. I’m over the moon that he’s here. Fantastic prospect.”
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