Darwin Nunez goal vs Forest. Uruguayan is one of the Mentality Monsters
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Liverpool’s Mentality Monsters Are Reborn & Darwin Núñez Leads the Way

Jürgen Klopp once called his team “mentality monsters” after a string of comebacks and late winners across the years. However, in 2022–23, this phrase was far from accurate. The Reds were struggling across all competitions, falling in the inaugural knockout game of the Champions League, finishing 5th in the Premier League, and then failing to make it past the fourth round of both domestic cups.

Based on the levels set across previous years, it was an outcome you would probably laugh at and say, “Yeah, right.” But the truth was, that era of the Liverpool squad was at the end of their tether. Despite previously competing for a historic quadruple in the season prior, the Merseyside club decided against major reinforcements, with only Darwin Núñez arriving as a large-money move in that summer window.

The Uruguayan’s time in his first season was certainly filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but it was those moments in those highs that endeared the pony-tailed marksman to the Kop. While the rest of the league pointed out his mistakes, Reds fans could only notice his work ethic and desire to never give up. No matter how many perceived “easy chances” he floundered, he was up and at it for the next one just minutes later. He was always ready to pounce, always ready to make the opposition defence work hard, and it seemed he never dwelled on the past.

Fast forward to the 2023–24 Premier League season, and we are now in a new era of Klopp’s Liverpool, albeit the final one. Learning from past errors, the club let James Milner leave on a free transfer before shipping both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Saudi Arabia. In their place were Alexis MacAllister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo, and Ryan Gravenberch. Additionally, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are continuing to play an essential role in this Liverpool set-up.

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The once-Premier League champions have a whole new midfield, bursting with energy, and life in the middle of the pitch was back at Anfield.

While these signings are ultimately one of the main reasons Klopp has guided this side back to the heights of a title race, and a lot is different about this side from last year, at least one remaining thing sticks out, Darwin’s attitude.

The Mentality Monsters Mindset

Liverpool’s “mentality monsters” are back, and no other player than Darwin Núñez epitomises it more. This never-give-up attitude has given the No. 9 the record for most winning goals across the Premier League this season, so far.

The former Benfica man has scored six goals that put his side into the lead in games they have won. Collecting a total of 18 points in the process.

The £85 million man (a price which includes add-ons) has quickly become one of Liverpool’s most important players. The chaotic enigma is a chance magnet. His movement and positioning are one of the main reasons the Reds can create so many more opportunities with him on the field.

While many will point out his numerous missed chances, and claim the forward isn’t clinical, the data suggests otherwise. There is a claim to be made, which we won’t take credit for pointing out, that Núñez is actually an unlucky finisher. Credit goes to Sam McGuire.

When comparing his xG (13.1) vs. his xGOT (14.1), his xGOT on target is a whole goal above. This showcases that when he takes his chances, he is actually adding value to his shots. This is the opposite of what a poor finisher would do. For example, Nicolas Jackson has an xG of 12.3 but an xGOT of 10.3. This shows that when he shoots, he is making his shots easier for the ‘keeper to save, such as placing them down the centre.

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However, we do note that he is far from the perfect player, and while an element of luck does apply, poor finishing in certain scenarios does as well.

When it comes to numbers, in 38 appearances, the 24-year-old striker has 25 goal contributions across all competitions (14 goals & 11 assists). He has come leaps and bounds from the so called “flop” rivals labelled him as last year.

If Liverpool want any chance of rectifying the 21/22 season, and finally getting their hands on the “quad,” they will need to make sure their Uruguayan front-man does not kick anymore advertising boards and remains injury free. His contributions in the run-in will be incredibly important.

This is because Jürgen Klopp’s mentality monsters are running rampant in England once more, and Darwin Núñez is spearheading it.

Alongside Salah, van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, and Alisson, he is one of the most important members of the squad.

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