Exclusive - Robbie Fowler backs Darwin Nunez

LIVERPOOL legend Robbie Fowler has backed big money, signing Darwin Nunez to discover his goalscoring touch for the club...

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-02-14

Louis Hobbs

3 minutes read

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He's got that desire to never give up

LIVERPOOL legend Robbie Fowler has backed big money, signing Darwin Nunez to discover his goalscoring touch for the club.

Uruguayan international Nunez scored just nine goals in the Premier League last season after he failed to live up to his star billing and hefty £64million price tag. And this season, the 24-year-old has yet to break the double-digit goal mark in the top flight.

But former Reds’ striker Fowler, who netted 171 goals in 330 career appearances for the famous Anfield club, has no doubts Nunez will blossom in the Premier League.

“He will be a handful,” predicted Fowler. “I'm not sure whether he’ll score the amount of goals that people would want him to, but he will do well, score goals, and be a handful.

“There's a little bit of talk about him at the minute and there comes a time when you've got to take away a bit of the rawness and you've got to become more of a finished article. But I've no doubt Darwin Nunez is an extremely good player. When Liverpool signed him he was scoring goals. He can do it.

“He’s playing in a top team who have an unbelievable amount of pressure on them.

“But what I like about Darwin Nunez is he's got that desire to never give up. And I think that's why the Liverpool fans have taken to him. He’ll give everything and, OK, he’s missed a few chances, but I genuinely think he will score goals.”

Not the finished article

Fowler enjoyed nine Premier League seasons with Liverpool before eight more seasons in the top flight with clubs including Leeds United, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.

And the 48-year-old former England international knows only too well what’s needed to achieve success at the highest level, especially having bagged an impressive 254 career goals during a distinguished career and been capped 26 times by his country.

“He’s [Nunez] not the finished article, but I don't think anyone has said he is,” added Fowler. “Will that be enough? I don't know. I genuinely don't know – from a Liverpool fan’s point of view, I hope so.

“But people have got to remember that Liverpool is different from every other club. When you have the history Liverpool has and the strikers who have gone before him, there is pressure there.

“I've been there and I’ve seen players come through - we’ve been blessed with strikers down the years. Players can try too hard, I’ve been there myself. When you try too hard, you make things worse. Then you always feel like you’re playing catch up.

“If Mo Salah can keep scoring and take the pressure off him a little bit, that would help. Hopefully, the magic from Salah can rub off a little bit on Darwin.”

It becomes second nature

These days Fowler prefers the golf fairways to banging in the goals for fun – and he likens his practice on the course to improving finishing.

“It's like golf, you become better at what you're doing because you practise it all the time,” said Fowler, who recently finished second at the Celebrity Series event on the Legends Tour at Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius.

“It's repetition, the monotony of doing it over and over again. People say I was the most naturally gifted finisher – well, I was probably ‘naturally gifted’ because of the repetition, doing it over and over again. It becomes second nature.”

The UEFA Cup winner and Champions League runner-up added: “You improve by putting yourself into a game situation in training. If you’re doing finishing sessions and the keeper comes out and you’re smacking everything past him, you’ll do that in a game too.

“Sometimes you don't need a goalkeeper to practice finishing. You just put a cone inside the post, a yard inside, and just aim for that. You do that with all parts of your foot – instep, outside, left and right – you can become better at it.”

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.