Once again, Darwin Nunez was able to put on his best smile as he walked off Anfield, handing the ball over to Trent Alexander-Arnold after 66 minutes on Sunday.
But the smile is often replaced by a disappointed expression. Whether with the player or among the fans.
However, the numbers show register Nunez is the first major league player to reach double figures in goals (non-penalty kicks) and assists. The 24-year-old has 10 of each, after scoring a penalty against LASK.
So, although there is only one striker in the same city, Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose expected goals performance in the Premier League is better than Darwin, his tally is now much higher.
Will it work out for Nunez?
On the basis of comparison. Europe's 'golden calf', Kylian Mbappe, has an impressive 27 goals and six assists in the league, domestic cup and Champions League.
If we delete the penalty kicks for the Frenchman, the number of goals becomes “only” 19, and a total of 25 goal points. He also has more minutes on the pitch than Núñez, is a more established and visible player, and should be easier to score in the French league than in the English Premier League.
Efficiency has been the Uruguayan's eternal attraction. When Liverpool set the record xG against Newcastle on 1 January, Nunez had an xG of almost 1.7 after eight games, five of them on target. Results? One assist for one goal.
This is made even more apparent by the fact that his teammate Diogo Jota is at the complete opposite end of the scale. Earlier in the month, Jota scored twice against Bournemouth, from a low of 0.14. The Portuguese also lowered Burnley's level on Boxing Day, with an xG of 0.08.
In 2022/23, his first season in England, no one among those who played at least 80 minutes had more chances than the 24-year-old (20.6 minutes between each). It converted 10.7 percent.
He finished that year with nine goals in the league, four in the Champions League and one in the FA Cup. He contributed three assists in the league and one in the League Cup. Thanks to his contributions in January, he is already over 22/23 in goal points. And now it's starting to bear fruit?
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