EPL

Jurgen Klopp hails last-gasp Liverpool hero Darwin Nunez

By Sports Desk March 03, 2024

Jurgen Klopp hailed Darwin Nunez’s last-gasp winner in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Nottingham Forest as the perfect response to the City Ground boo-boys.

Nunez marked his return from a three-game injury lay-off by heading home Alexis Mac Allister’s cross in the ninth minute of added time to lift his side four points clear at the top of the Premier League.

As Nunez stepped off the bench in the second half, a section of Forest fans chanted: “You’re just a sxxx Andy Carroll”, in reference to the Uruguay international’s pony-tail, which is similar to the one worn by the former Liverpool striker.

Klopp, who claimed the win was among his side’s biggest of the season, said: “It’s such an important goal, which gives you three points. It’s always super-decisive and, especially for him, super-deserved.

“Before people start singing that song more often, it’s the best way to immediately calm it down.

“But they can sing it if Darwin responds like he did today. Before that he had really good moments. (He forced) a sensational save off the goalie, he was immediately in the game.”

When asked if Nunez understood the song, Klopp added: “I understood it. Yes, I think he understands it, so that’s the best answer.”

Klopp was delighted his injury-hit side has been able to keep racking up the wins – their fourth in 11 days – following last week’s Carabao Cup triumph.

“How the boys fought through that is really special,” he added. “The fourth game was the toughest. It was really an unbelievable effort. The boys put in a proper, proper shift.”

Forest were incensed by referee Paul Tierney’s decision to hand the ball to Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher after halting play while the home side were in possession for an apparent head injury to Ibrahima Konate shortly before the visitors’ winner.

Home players and staff surrounded Tierney at the final whistle – coach Steven Reid was shown a red card – while Forest later dismissed reports that club owner Evangelos Marinakis had to be restrained by security staff in the tunnel.

Forest’s referee analyst Mark Clattenburg claimed after the match that the game’s rules state Tierney should have handed possession back to Forest.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo refused to comment on the incident, but could not hide his disappointment.

Anthony Elanga spurned Forest’s best two chances, foiled in a first-half one-on-one by Kelleher before firing narrowly wide from Harry Toffolo’s cross after the interval.

“Not only that, it was the final pass, in the right moment,” Nuno said. “We will keep trying. We will repeat on the training ground until we get it right.

“But we limited them very well. We controlled the middle of the park, always covering ourselves, the wingers helping the full-backs, controlling the box and when we had the ball we had the right idea – we go forward.

“We had moments of good football, but took nothing from the game, so it’s tough to take because our fans deserve to go home after a game like today happy, but they’re not, so we will try.”

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