Gary Neville thought the “physical drop off” in the Arsenal defeat will be most concerning for Jurgen Klopp but claimed there were “really good signs” from one Liverpool star.
The Gunners’ 3-2 win at the Emirates on Sunday to take them back to the top of the Premier League, while Liverpool are languishing in tenth after their worst start to a league season for a decade.
Klopp admitted after the game that his side are not in the title race after another turgid display, but Neville claims there were positive signs from Darwin Nunez, who scored the Reds’ opening goal.
“I thought he [Nunez] was really good, even in the difficult parts of the game for Liverpool he was their best player, his runs were good,” Neville said on his podcast.
“Liverpool needed a centre forward. [Sadio] Mane leaving, Firmino, I think people who watch him far more than I do say he was dropping off a little bit, so they had to revitalise that front three.
“They needed a centre forward, when they signed Nunez there was this comparison between [Erling] Haaland and Nunez. I remember the headlines around that time [after the Community Shield], we all should and look at us now three months later, but that was a debate.”
Nunez’s goal was his first since his Premier league debut against Fulham and Neville believes his red card in the draw with Crystal Palace has hampered his form in front of goal since.
“That sending off he had against Crystal Palace has knocked him, I think there’s no doubt,” Neville added.
“But I thought there were really good signs from Nunez [against Arsenal], I thought he looked a real handful up there, making good runs in behind, pressing.
“But something’s missing, I know Liverpool fans say it’s their midfield. They’re having to play four up front now I think to compensate for the fact they haven’t got the energy in the midfield anymore to try to get the press on and that press fell away.
“Nunez wasn’t the problem today, he wasn’t the problem. There were other areas in the team. I thought the physical drop off in that second half was the biggest problem for me, with Arsenal looking better, stronger and fitter.”