'He's very talented': Virgil van Dijk names the Liverpool attacker who's really impressed him after pre-season tour
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has spoken to the Athletic and named Darwin Nunez as the player who has impressed him.
Nunez signed from Benfica earlier in the window for a fee worth up to £85 million (Sky Sports). The 23-year-old has been training with his new teammates and played in friendly matches against Crystal Palace and Manchester United last week.
Despite not managing to find the back of the net during their tour of Asia, Van Dijk is excited by the signing of the striker.
Van Dijk is impressed by Nunez
While speaking to the Athletic, Van Dijk reflected on playing against Nunez in the Champions League quarter-finals last season.
“We saw how good Darwin is when we played against Benfica last season. He’s a very talented striker — one for now and also one for the future. I just remember in the away leg, he tried to target Ibou (Ibrahima Konate) a bit more than me!”
The Dutch centre-back praised Nunez for his performances and admitted that he caused problems for the Liverpool defence.
Van Dijk also feels that Liverpool have acted quickly in replacing Sadio Mane after he left for Bayern Munich this summer.
He told the Athletic: “I was sad that Sadio left us (for Bayern Munich), but we knew it was coming. He felt that it was time to move on and get a new challenge. We all respected that.
“The club reacted by getting Darwin in. Hopefully, he’s going to have a fantastic career for Liverpool.”
Van Dijk signed for Liverpool back in January 2018 and has been sensational under Jurgen Klopp. The defender has played against the best centre-forwards in the world, so for him to praise the former Benfica man, it will be a big boost for his confidence.
Nunez enjoyed a brilliant year for Benfica last season and bagged 26 goals in the Portuguese league.
The Uruguayan impressed in the Champions League as he managed to score six goals and 10 games. And as Van Dijk highlighted, he caused problems for Liverpool and scored against Klopp’s team.
TBR’s View: Nunez will need to be given time to adjust at Liverpool
Being seen as Mane’s replacement is huge pressure for a 23-year-old and given his lack of Premier League experience, he’ll need time to adjust. Nunez has clearly got a great eye for goal as his record shows but it may take him a bit of time to settle in at Anfield.
Luiz Diaz hit the ground running under Klopp last season after coming from the same league, so Nunez could easily do the same. But in what will be a new-look Liverpool frontline, the striker will have to find his feet at Liverpool before he can work towards filling Mane’s role in the team.