He’s Like Firmino: Slot Could Axe Nunez by Sealing Liverpool Swoop for 111m Sensation

Jurgen Klopp raised his fist in celebration, his trademark gesture, as Liverpool claimed victory over a struggling Tottenham Hotspur side, suffering their fourth consecutive defeat in the Premier League.

The match on Sunday saw Liverpool, having slipped behind in the title race, regain their momentum amidst a series of disappointing results, allowing Arsenal and Manchester City to surge ahead.

Despite recent setbacks, Klopp’s jubilation echoed loudly through Anfield, signaling a resurgence for Liverpool. With Feyenoord’s Arne Slot set to step in as manager, anticipation builds for the team’s potential under new leadership.

Although Tottenham mounted a spirited comeback, halving Liverpool’s four-goal lead, the final whistle blew with the score at 4-2 in favor of the Reds. While defensive vulnerabilities persist, Liverpool’s formidable attack showed signs of revival.

Darwin Nunez, despite two late opportunities, appeared dejected after failing to convert them into goals. The £85 million signing from Benfica has been a key player for Liverpool this season, yet his recent profligacy in front of goal raises concerns for the team.

Darwin Nunez’s Future at Liverpool

Nunez’s situation seems to have taken a darker turn. Criticised for his recent poor finishing impacting Liverpool’s silverware pursuit, the 24-year-old has deleted Liverpool-related pictures from his social media.

Questions arise: Is this a non-issue amplified by social media narratives? Nunez’s swift exit after the Tottenham match, where he missed key chances and had a lackluster performance, adds fuel. Despite his season stats of 18 goals and 13 assists in 51 games, known for his pace and tenacity, his goal-scoring seems more about temperament than skill.

With Slot’s tactical changes looming, Nunez might face a diminished role if he can’t improve his scoring. Liverpool eye Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, with reports suggesting a massive £111m bid could sway Leverkusen, who deems Wirtz untouchable.

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Liverpool’s pursuit signals a new era post-Klopp, emphasising continued ambition.

Why Liverpool Must Sign Florian Wirtz

Wirtz has showcased outstanding performance this season for Xabi Alonso’s unbeaten, treble-chasing team. He has netted 18 goals and provided 19 assists in 45 matches across all competitions. While primarily positioned as a central attacking midfielder, he has also excelled in various attacking roles throughout the season.

According to FBref data, the player earning £74k per week is positioned within the top 10% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s major five leagues for goals achieved in the past year.

Additionally, he ranks in the top 3% for assists, the top 1% for passes attempted and shot-creating actions, the top 2% for progressive passes, the top 15% for progressive carries, and the top 5% for successful take-ons per 90.

With such a diverse skill set, executed with the finesse of a seasoned professional, there is speculation that Wirtz could excel in exploiting spaces, particularly the half-spaces, akin to Roberto Firmino’s role at Liverpool. This transition could see Wirtz assuming a more advanced position, potentially filling the void left by Nunez.

However, for Wirtz to truly flourish in this role, Liverpool would require two dynamic wide forwards capable of significantly impacting matches through their goal-scoring prowess.

While Mohamed Salah remains a world-class striker, Luis Diaz’s inconsistency, evidenced by his eight goals and 12 missed big chances in 35 appearances this season, makes him unsuitable for emulating Sadio Mane’s previous role in Klopp’s squad.

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Should Wirtz thrive in this new position, it may necessitate further signings. Nonetheless, the young Germany international’s versatility demonstrated thus far in his career underscores his ability to perform admirably in various roles.

Jacek Kulig, a talent scout, has even dubbed the 21-year-old as the “mastermind” of Alonso’s Die Werkself system. Wirtz’s exceptional attacking prowess plays a significant role in Leverkusen’s notable success, adding depth and complexity to their offensive strategies.

Florian Wirtz: 2023/24 Statistics
CompetitionAppsGoalsAssists
Bundesliga311111
Europa League944
DFB-Pokal534
Stats via Transfermarkt

Analysis of the table above offers intriguing insights. The data delves into Wirtz’s statistical prowess and the factors underpinning his seasonal triumphs. Yet, this table distinctly showcases the magnitude of his talent.

Wirtz exhibits an extraordinary ability to excel consistently across varied circumstances. Such clinical proficiency is remarkable, especially considering his relatively nascent career stage. This prompts speculation that Liverpool might consider a club-record transfer fee, potentially surpassing those for Nunez from Benfica.

But does Wirtz’s positional versatility undermine his value? Comparatively, is Nunez unequivocally an out-and-out centre-forward? Leverkusen’s rising star seems poised for a remarkable season, poised to outshine esteemed clubs like Arsenal, Rangers, and Ajax.

The emergence of Wirtz is undeniably significant. Michael Edwards, FSG’s Football CEO, must exert every effort, and perhaps go beyond, to secure his transfer to Anfield. There, Wirtz could evolve into one of English football’s most awe-inspiring talents, spanning multiple generations.

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