Klopp mocks early critics of Nunez and Haaland

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp thinks it is “wrong” how quickly the critics were on Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland’s back in pre-season.

Uruguay forward Nunez joined the Reds from Benfica in a transfer potentially worth £85m (€100m) in June, while Manchester City sealed a reported £51m (€60m) deal with Borussia Dortmund for Haaland a month earlier .

Both big investments were seen as deals that could widen the gap between them and the rest of the Premier League, although each player has courted criticism.

For Nunez, flak came as early as his first pre-season game after missing a big chance in a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Haaland was then ridiculed for a difficult day against the Reds as Klopp’s side won the Community Shield at the end of July.

Nunez scored in that win over City before coming off the bench to find the net and provide an assist for Mohamed Salah in a 2-2 draw with Fulham, while Haaland marked his Premier League debut with a double in a win against West Ham. .

For Klopp, the desperation to write off players is unhelpful and unfair.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Monday’s clash with Crystal Palace, Klopp said: “Five weeks ago, when we started pre-season and [Nunez] had his first match and it didn’t look good from the outside world.

“Not for us, but it’s crazy how quickly we judge people… wow!

“Imagine if someone did that to us and said, ‘First day on the job, it didn’t work. Go home, we’ll never see you again! And you won’t get another chance, by the way’ – we’d be gone a long time ago! No chance .

“Everyone can now see, ‘Ah, he’s a real striker’ – so good for us and good for him.

“He’s a handful and is a different type to what we had. He’s very lively and very energetic. Physically he’s very strong and technically he’s very good, obviously that goes along with being more relaxed and confident and more confident in themselves in a new environment.

“You can’t say, ‘Come on, you’ve got to give me 100 per cent straight away’ – you’ve got to develop that and that’s what we’re doing at the moment and in a good way.

“It’s also funny, we won against Manchester City the week before the season and everyone was asking: ‘Will Haaland score so-and-so?’

“A week is like 10 years in football!”

Klopp has had to contend with the disruption of several injuries already, but he reiterated that the Reds do not plan to enter the transfer market.

“If it was the right player and an opportunity, we would have done it, we would have done it, but I don’t see it because we had a lot of talks already and it doesn’t look like anything will happen,” he added.

“I am happy with the strength, size and quality of my squad, but we have injuries. There are many solutions for that. One of them is the transfer market, but it only makes sense if you can bring in the right player.

“All the other solutions are inside the squad. We have too many injuries, that’s clear. Naby [Keita] will return on Monday and Kostas [Tsimikas] will train for the first time, so he can be back too.”

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