Jurgen Klopp believes Darwin Nunez has “arrived 100 percent” after scoring the game-winning goal for Liverpool against West Ham on Wednesday.
Nunez struggled at first after joining from Benfica at the end of last season for a reported fee of £64 million (€73.5 million) that could rise to £85 million (€97.6 million).
However, in an all-action performance against the Hammers, the 23-year-old scored the game’s only goal with a header from a Kostas Tsimikas cross, as well as forcing Lukasz Fabianski into a fine save and hitting the post among his six efforts from 56 minutes on the pitch before being substituted as a precaution.
Nunez has five goals in 12 games (six starts) and three goals in his last four appearances in all competitions.
“It is critical. He has now scored a few times in the last few games. He arrived completely, even with numbers, which is fine “Klopp stated this during his post-match press conference.
“He felt the muscles a little bit at halftime, but everything was fine, and after five minutes [of the second half], I was just a little worried about long sprints for him and balls where he stretches his legs. ‘Come on, we can’t take that risk,’ I thought, and that’s why we changed.”
Liverpool came under pressure as David Moyes’ men grew into the game, with Alisson having to save a penalty from Jarrod Bowen after the forward was brought down by Joe Gomez just before halftime.
The Reds held on for their second 1-0 win in a week, having defeated Manchester City by the same scoreline on Sunday, and Klopp admitted it was another difficult three points to secure.
“It’s a Premier League game, and I can’t remember an easy game in the last seven years and a few days, and tonight was certainly not easy,” he said. “But we played well enough – and really well at times. Overall, I think you did well enough to get three points.
“It’s the second 1-0 win in a row, which is perfectly fine. It’s a fantastic outcome… with room for improvement. It was always the case, and it is still the case tonight, I believe.
“But right now, we have three points more than we did before, and that feels massive.”