EPL

Jurgen Klopp: Darwin Nunez was ‘like a racehorse’ in win over Fulham

By Sports Desk May 04, 2023

Mohamed Salah may be the man for consistency but fellow forward Darwin Nunez is the player who injects the element of unpredictability which is part of the evolution of Liverpool’s forward line.

Salah became the first player to score in eight successive home matches for the club with his penalty enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Fulham, making it five wins in a row and 12 goals in his last 16 games.

He was starting alongside Nunez and Luis Diaz, which at the start of the season was the expected first-choice forward line until the latter sustained a serious knee injury which sidelined him for six months.

As a result, the Fulham game was only the fifth time they had all begun a game together, but it was Nunez’s return to the starting line-up for the first time in half-a-dozen games which produced the key moment in the first half.

Having lost control 30 yards from goal, he set about regaining possession and nicked it back off Issa Diop inside the penalty area only for the defender to bring him down.

Manager Jurgen Klopp felt the spell among the substitutes helped reignite the Uruguay international, who was played through the middle as opposed to his more regular position out on the left in his maiden season.

“Darwin was like a racehorse, really motivated, really on fire,” said Klopp, who was particularly pleased with how the 23-year-old adapted to the vital counter-pressing role through the middle which has been performed so well by fellow new signing Cody Gakpo recently.

“Absolutely. I think for us it’s super-important. You could see in the beginning, defending the centre against Fulham is really important because Palhinha is there and that is their connector.

“We were a bit too early out there from Darwin, we tried to fix that, but he was like a racehorse – go, go, go, go for everybody.

“We opened up and that’s where we struggle slightly. We could sort that and apart from that he played a really good game, he was always a proper option for us and we needed that.”

But with only a slender lead to protect it was goalkeeper Alisson Becker who, not for the first time in this up and down season for the team, came up with the key moments to keep his first clean sheet in six matches with a good save from Carlos Vinicius.

The Brazil international has now made 100 saves in the current campaign, the first time he has reached triple figures in a single season since joining Liverpool.

“He is is for sure the most consistent player we have this season,” added Klopp.

“That’s actually not bad news, it’s good news, because if we are not in a great shape and the level of the goalie drops as well then we would have been completely lost. So, that’s fine.”

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  • David Moyes hopes West Ham over ‘difficult period’ after long-awaited win David Moyes hopes West Ham over ‘difficult period’ after long-awaited win

    David Moyes hopes West Ham have turned a corner after finally beating bogey side Brentford 4-2.

    On a night of firsts, Jarrod Bowen scored a first career hat-trick to ease the pressure on boss Moyes after a rotten run of eight matches without a win.

    The Hammers won their first match of 2024, with Bowen scoring his first goals since before Christmas and becoming the first Hammers player to hit a treble at the London Stadium.

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    “Most teams have difficult periods in the Premier League. Manchester City have, Liverpool have, so West Ham are certainly going to be no different,” said Moyes.

    “We’ve struggled to get our best team out, but overall if we can get our better players out there we can compete with most teams.”

    Bowen scored twice inside the opening seven minutes before Neal Maupay pulled one back for the Bees, who had beaten West Ham in all five of their previous Premier League meetings.

    Bowen headed his third midway through the second half and Emerson Palmieri hit a 20-yard rocket before Yoanne Wissa pulled another back.

    “I’m really pleased for Jarrod, his performances have gone unnoticed as we’ve not been playing well,” added Moyes.

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    “If you can play wide and you’re a goalscorer you will be of interest to the international manager.”

    Maupay, Brentford’s premier wind-up merchant, was seen having a heated discussion with Hammers coach Kevin Nolan as the teams came back out of the tunnel for the second half.

    “I actually didn’t know who the row was with, I thought maybe it was with the fourth official. I didn’t see it so I can’t really tell you anything about that,” said Moyes.

    Brentford, already plunged deeper into the relegation scrap earlier on Monday following Everton’s points deduction being reduced from 10 to six, suffered another defeat – their 12th in 15 matches since beating West Ham at home in November.

    “Today we didn’t hit a good level individually and collectively. West Ham hit a good level, Bowen was unplayable, Emerson hit the top corner and we lost 4-2,” was boss Thomas Frank’s blunt assessment.

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    Asked whether the Everton situation had an effect, Frank replied “Absolutely not.

    “I think right now I’m very irritated with our performance, that’s the main focus.”

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    Jarrod Bowen scored a hat-trick as West Ham beat bogey side Brentford 4-2 to ease the pressure on David Moyes.

    The Hammers won their first match of 2024, with Bowen scoring his first goals since before Christmas, to end a miserable run of eight games without a victory which had prompted more questions about the manager’s future.

    Played five, lost five was their sorry Premier League record against Brentford, the only team of the 43 Moyes had faced in the top flight and not previously beaten.

    Finally the rot was stopped as Brentford, already plunged deeper into the relegation scrap earlier on Monday following Everton’s points deduction being reduced from 10 to six, suffered another defeat – their 12th in 15 matches since beating West Ham at home in November.

    Where this West Ham have been for the past two months is anyone’s guess. They should have led after only three minutes when James Ward-Prowse flicked on Vladimir Coufal’s cross, only for Tomas Soucek to blaze over from six yards out.

    But moments later they did go ahead when Ward-Prowse sent Emerson Palmieri down the left wing.

    The Italian defender pulled the ball back for Bowen, who took a touch before lashing his shot past Mark Flekken.

    Bowen, who had not scored a Premier League goal in seven matches, suddenly had two inside the first seven minutes.

    This time Coufal found the England hopeful 10 yards out and he calmly slotted past Flekken to double the lead.

    But the Bees were stung into action and responded in the 13th minute through Neal Maupay, who stole in to score his fifth goal in as many starts against the Hammers.

    West Ham looked for a third before half-time, but Soucek missed his kick in front of goal, fit-again Lucas Paqueta volleyed wide and a Mohammed Kudus drive was held by Flekken.

    It had not been a particularly niggly half, but Maupay, Brentford’s premier wind-up merchant, seemed to say something which riled Hammers coach Kevin Nolan as they came back out of the tunnel, with Bees defender Mathias Jorgensen separating the pair.

    Ivan Toney was inches away from an equaliser when he just failed to get a touch to an inviting cross from Keane Lewis-Potter.

    Instead, in the 64th minute, Bowen completed his treble – the first by a West Ham player at the London Stadium – with a simple header from Kudus’ cross.

    Home keeper Alphonse Areola saved a Frank Onyeka volley down low at his near post before the Hammers grabbed their fourth in style.

    Another Kudus cross was headed out to Emerson, 20 yards out, and the full-back launched a rocket past Flekken into the top corner.

    Bees substitute Yoane Wissa pulled another back late on and Areola denied Toney in stoppage time as West Ham held on for a win which was almost as impressive as it was unexpected.

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