Nunez ready to rival Haaland after Liverpool striker receives praise from Messi
Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez comparisons premature but Liverpool star now set to rival Man City ace after Lionel Messi praise
Lionel Messi has thrown praise onto Darwin Nunez amid the striker’s superb start to the campaign for both club and country.
And the Liverpool frontman may now be ready to finally challenge Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland, one year after he fell short of comparisons between the two.
Haaland and Nunez meet this weekend, live on talkSPORT, as the rivals clash for the fourth time since they both arrived in England in the summer of 2022.
The forwards were the Premier League’s big-money deals of that transfer window and they were instantly compared against each other.
However, while Haaland quickly became one of the world’s deadliest goalscorers at Manchester City, Nunez struggled to settle at Liverpool.
The Uruguayan started his first season well but then a red card on his home debut derailed his success, only scoring nine goals during the campaign.
Compared to his Norweigan counterpart, he was a whopping 27 goals behind, as the Man City superstar broke the top-flight scoring record.
That proved that comparisons between the two may have been premature, even to the point that Jurgen Klopp was hoping Nunez wasn’t looking at what Haaland was achieving.
The Reds boss said last year: "Let me say it like this, I think Darwin Nunez would have scored a couple more goals if he had played in the centre of Man City this season.
“I hope it is not in a process where he compares himself with Erling Haaland. Don't compare, I hope he is not doing that and doesn't think about that. I don't see that.”
And it seems Nunez hasn’t got caught up on his disappointing first campaign in England.
He has come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders, scoring four goals and providing four assists in only 11 games for Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
Haaland has more goals but he has started double the matches, making Nunez having more passes and ball recoveries even more impressive.
His impact in all areas of the pitch has seen him become a key player for the Reds, with his incredible speed causing all sorts of issues.
That has led to Nunez getting praise from one of football’s greatest in Messi, who said before Argentina faced Uruguay: "Uruguay are good at rebounding and playing in space on the counter-attack.
“They have excellent players for that like Darwin [Núñez]…"
Nunez’s resilience has been nothing short of superb and the way he has bounced back from falling behind Haaland is impressive.
Klopp has also been speaking about the 24-year-old’s contribution to his side so far this season.
"Outstanding! Outstanding!" he said after Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Brentford.
“Everyone can see; look at him how he kept the ball for us, who would of thought that last year?
“That he could do that for us. [The] standout was Darwin because Brentford wanted long balls so he started the pressing.
Nunez’s confidence is sky-high and he now seems ready to step up against Haaland.
And there will not be a better time to prove that he is the real deal than on Saturday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.
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