West Ham’s Michail Antonio and Newcastle’s Callum Wilson have leapt to the defence of misfiring Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez, insisting criticism for the Uruguayan has been blown way out of proportion.
Nunez joined Liverpool from Benfica in the summer of 2022 for an initial fee of £64m that could reach £85m if all add-ons are met.
With Sadio Mane leaving for Bayern Munich shortly after his arrival on Merseyside, Nunez has been tasked with replacing the Senegalese’s goals, and has contributed 10 in 26 games for Liverpool this season.
But with Jurgen Klopp’s side stuck in mid-table, Nunez’s wastefulness in front of goal has often been pinpointed as a problem area for Liverpool this season
But speaking on the BBC’s Footballer’s Football podcast, fellow strikers Antonio and Wilson revealed they have been stunned by some of the criticism Nunez has received.
Antonio said: “When we played him away some of the strikes he was doing were like ‘ohhh’. Left foot, right foot, always hitting the target and making our keeper pull off some unbelievable saves.
“But it’s stuff I’m seeing on Instagram and social media where he just getting destroyed!
“I swear there was one stage where everyone was pushing each other and I saw this meme and he’s come in to push and missed the push! I swear, it was like ‘he’s even missed the push,’ I couldn’t believe it, I was dying mate. But I was like I swear this guy has got 14 goals this season!
Wilson added: “He’s got more goals than me and Michail together combined! So I’m not saying anything about him man!
“What I will say is that he is young, he’s 23 years old, and he has just come to the Premier League which is a difficult league. It’s not a league for boys, it’s a league for men and at the end of the day he’s come from a league which is a little bit different.
“It’s going to take him time to adapt. But there’s obviously no chill on social media so any little thing that happens is becoming a big thing and he’s going to see that, he’s going to be sent that [meme] and he’s going to see people laughing at that.
“And then it just makes you go more and more inward, especially at that age. He seems like a vibrant guy, like a no-nonsense kind of guy, so he just has to stick his chest out and keep going. If you miss the chances, so what.
“As long as you are in a position to make those chances you’re not going to keep missing. The clinical finishing will come over time after he’s playing more regularly and he’s played in this league for a little while.“