Liverpool will have watched Uruguay’s use of Darwin Nunez in Uruguay’s international friendly with Iran on Friday with interest.
Signed from Benfica as a centre-forward for an initial fee of €75 million but with a potential €25m to follow in bonuses, making him the most expensive Liverpool signing ever.
Nunez, though, has had few chances to show what he can do. After a promising start as he scored against Manchester City in the Community Shield and Fulham in the Premier League, he was sent off for headbutting Crystal Palace centre-back Joachim Andersen and banned for three games.
Since returning to action, he has been shut out by Everton, while he was unable to score in Champions League outings against Napoli and Ajax.
While Nunez is likely to continue in his centre-forward role for Liverpool, manager Jurgen Klopp will have taken an interest in Uruguay boss Diego Alonso deploying the 23-year-old in a role on the left of the attack.
Nunez played the whole game but unsurprisingly struggled to make a big impression from his makeshift role, with Luis Suarez the focus of the Uruguay attack. Nevertheless, he mustered two shots on target and played three key passes.
Nunez v Uruguay
Meanwhile, the attacker was extremely industrious, which is an attribute Klopp likes. He was not particularly effective in this regard, though. He won only 27.8% of his duels and not one of his two aerial duels. Furthermore, he did not win a single foul and gave one away.
Against a rather modest opponent in the form of Iran, it was an unimpressive outing for Nunez, who has now failed to score in five games for club and country.
The experiment to deploy Nunez on the left of the attack is unlikely to be one repeated by Klopp, who clearly retains faith in the striker as his go-to centre forward.