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Liverpool handed big Darwin Nunez injury boost

Liverpool clinched victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a third round FA Cup replay on Tuesday night in what was the first win of the new year, having previously fallen to defeat against Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League.

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Qualification to the next phase of the prestigious tournament was a big step in the right direction, and done so without Liverpool’s club-record £85m summer signing Darwin Nunez, who has missed the past two matches due to injury after having scored an emphatic strike against the Old Gold in the 2-2 draw that led to the replay.

The Times first reported that the Uruguayan striker had been absent from training ahead of the 3-0 defeat against Brighton, where Liverpool looked barren of offensive drive and cohesion in its entirety.

But now, according to Goal correspondent Neil Jones, the 23-year-old striker is firmly back in contention to return to a starting berth in a league fixture that could prove definitive for both side’s as they look to return to form.

It’s great news for Salah

Nunez has divided opinion since his arrival on Merseyside, with many lamenting his wayward strikes and missed opportunities, while others have lauding him for his vibrant personality on the pitch and success in clinching ten goals across his first 15 starts for the club – a promising indication of things to come when he unearths his full-flowing fluidity.

While Nunez has indeed missed an alarming 15 big chances in the Premier League alone this season, as per Sofascore, his impact on games has been imperative in Liverpool’s fight against falling into sheer mediocrity, with his average rating of 6.97 illustrating his bright overall play despite often possessing the cutting edge of a dulled bread knife.

Averaging 4.2 shots per game and with seven big chances created from just ten starts in the top-flight, his inclusion will be paramount to the Reds’ success against Chelsea, who will present a fiercely tough task despite their own woes.

Having lost seven of their past 11 matches across all competitions, Graham Potter’s Chelsea have been bolstering the squad with heavy investment, and could look to turn the tide on their fortunes having defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 in the league last time out.

Will Darwin Nunez score against Chelsea?

Yes

Yes

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No

With both team’s positively desperate to return to a respectable standing, Nunez’s form on the afternoon could prove the difference, with the 16-cap gem ranking among the top 5% of forwards for rate of non-penalty goals and the top 1% for total shots over the course of the past year.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Let's start easy - how many points did Liverpool collect in their 2021/22 Premier League campaign?

He could also enhance Liverpool stalwart Mohamed Salah’s own fight to return to a purple patch, with the devastating forward having failed to score across his past three league outings; despite this, the Egyptian’s 17 goals from 28 appearances this term are a steady reminder that he can split even the most resilient defence apart at any given moment.

And with Nunez returning, this will only bolster his hopes at sending the Anfield faithful into cacophonous cheer, with Nunez in fact providing for Salah with all three of his Liverpool assists thus far.

This emerging fluidity between the pair will only further strengthen into an unbreakable bond as time goes on, and Chelsea, who certainly face their own issues, will provide the perfect opportunity to do just that.