Klopp hopeful of Nunez involvement as Real Madrid test looms

By Sports Desk February 20, 2023

Jurgen Klopp says Darwin Nunez has a chance of being fit to face Real Madrid on Tuesday, having suffered a knock during Liverpool's win at Newcastle United on Saturday.

Nunez scored his sixth Premier League goal of the season as Liverpool sealed a 2-0 victory at St James' Park, bringing down Trent Alexander-Arnold's long pass before firing home to open the scoring.

However, the Uruguay international was forced out of the contest after an hour, when a collision with Kieran Trippier left him holding his right shoulder.

Asked about the prospect of Nunez recovering to face Madrid in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 clash, Klopp told reporters: "There's a chance. 

"We have to see how he can deal with the pain, and when we know that, we'll make a decision."

Nunez has recorded seven goal contributions (five goals, two assists) in his 13 league starts for Liverpool, while he also hit the net three times in their Champions League group-stage campaign.

While Liverpool hope they can rely on Nunez to cause problems for Madrid, they will have to be wary of the threat posed by Vinicius Junior at the other end.

Vinicius scored the winner as Madrid beat the Reds in last May's Champions League final in Paris, and his tally of 24 goal involvements this term (16 goals, eight assists) is more than any other Blancos player.

Asked whether Liverpool have devised a particular plan to stop the Brazilian, Klopp said: "You always have to try to deny passes to them. 

"But the problem we have is that if you can defend Vinicius properly, they have [Karim] Benzema. If you defend him properly as well, they have Rodrygo or whoever.

"If you defend all three properly, Toni Kroos fires the ball from 25 yards into the corner, Luka Modric has an idea, or [Aurelien] Tchouameni picks up the ball and fires it from 25 yards.

"That's how it is with world-class teams, they have world-class players and you have to defend them collectively, that's what we will try to do."

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