Darwin Nunez: Virgil van Dijk says new Liverpool striker faces ‘learning curve’ in Premier League

The new Reds forward netted off the bench in his first two games for the club but failed to finish his first start

Richard Jolly
Tuesday 16 August 2022 12:00 BST
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klopp frustrated after Liverpool 1-1 Palace

Virgil van Dijk has told Darwin Nunez he needs to learn to control himself after Liverpool’s new striker was sent off on his home debut for headbutting Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen.

The Reds had to come from behind for the second time in the opening two games of the 2022/23 Premier League season, eventually drawing 1-1 at Anfield.

It was Liverpool’s first red card for violent conduct in Jurgen Klopp’s long reign and Van Dijk described his moment of madness as something that “should not happen.”

Van Dijk feels Nunez will be provoked in future games and has to make sure there is no repeat.

“He has to control himself, definitely,” the Dutchman said. “He has to manage himself. He has to be knowing that these things can happen, especially in the Premier League. It will be a learning curve for him and hopefully it will never happen again.

“Obviously he was disappointed and also probably with himself. But it’s a learning curve and we will always back him. He’s got the backing from us and he knows it should not happen again and hopefully it will be that way.”

Liverpool were trailing 1-0 to Palace when Nunez was sent off and Van Dijk was delighted with their reaction, including Luis Diaz’s spectacular equaliser.

He added: “I think with 10 men we played outstanding. We put them under pressure, obviously we took a lot of risk because we had to score the equaliser and were hoping to get the winner. But I think should not come with 10 men, it should not happen.”

He singled out Diaz for particular praise, saying: “A fantastic player. It’s obviously something we need and he provided that bit of special action and he can be so much better. He’s an incredible player already so we’ll see what the future brings.”

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