Where does Darwin Nunez need to improve for Liverpool? Michael Owen on how Reds striker can emulate Erling Haaland

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Erling Haaland Darwin Nunez
Darwin Nunez was always going to be compared with Erling Haaland, but where does he need to improve in order to emulate his fellow frontman?

The Uruguay international arrived in English football during the same summer of 2022 as prolific Norwegian striker Haaland, with Liverpool acquiring Nunez in a £64 million ($80m) transfer deal with Benfica.

Haaland only cost Manchester City £51m ($63m), and he has registered 42 goals across all competitions compared to the 14 efforts recorded by a Premier League rival at Anfield.

Nunez’s haul would have been higher were it not for some big missed chances, but there is still enough potential in his game to suggest that he will become a fearsome finisher at some stage.

GOAL asked former Liverpool striker Michael Owen how the 23-year-old South American can improve his game, with the ex-England international well versed in the demands of hitting the back of any given net.

  1. How does Nunez improve?

    How does Nunez improve?

    Owen said, in association with aceodds.com, when asked for his opinion on Nunez and the areas he needs to work on: “Yeah, a lot of people are split on their opinion of Darwin Nunez. I actually am excited about his future, but there's always a caveat I suppose.

    "Let's go from the start. I think I'm surprised at how raw he is, I must admit. For the money he cost and for what I saw of him in the Champions League last year, he still feels as if he's got a lot of improvement to come. And I think Liverpool and the coaching staff there are going to have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders in terms of turning this raw talent into a top-notcher.”

  2. Who can Nunez be compared to?

    Who can Nunez be compared to?

    Owen added on the tools that Nunez has at his disposal, with the Uruguayan blessed with plenty of power and pace: “I think he's got elements of his game that could elevate him to be a real top-notcher and I keep going back to someone like Didier Drogba. When they first came to the Premier League and they were very raw.

    "You know, Drogba got laughed at for the first year or so of his career, everybody was saying he wasn't good enough etc and then he turned that into one of the best centre forwards we've ever seen in this country. I think Nunez has got some attributes that you simply can't give players.

    "I mean he's direct, he's strong, he's aggressive, he's quick, he hits the ball well, you know, he's a decent striker. He's a very good volleyer of the ball, I've noticed. So there's a lot to his game that I'd be excited about but I do think he's quite raw in certain states.

    "I haven't seen a player for a long time that, you know, gets me pulling my hair out one minute and gets me off my chair the next. I think he needs a lot of coaching, but I think he's got the potential of being a top-notcher.”

  3. Will Nunez ever match Haaland?
    Getty Images

    Will Nunez ever match Haaland?

    When that question was put to Owen, the ex-Liverpool frontman said: “Well, I wouldn't rule it out in the future. I think if you cast your mind back to the start of the season, everybody was saying who's going to score the most, Haaland or Nunez? It was a big debate.

    "And I think people probably have a little bit of a look at Nunez as not a massive success just yet, purely down to what Haaland has done. I mean, he's just hit the ground running. And at the moment, there's no comparison.

    "But as I say, I do think Haaland is already an all-round player. I do think that Nunez could get to that level. It just might take another two or three years.”