Haaland vs Nunez
Haaland vs Nunez
For the last six years, Manchester City and Liverpool have been the standout teams in club football.
Last season, neither side played with an established striker. City manager, Pep Guardiola, often played Phil Foden or Kevin de Bruyne in the central role while Jurgen Klopp often used either Roberto Firminho, Diogo Jota or the departing Sadio Mane upfront with Divock Origi as the perfect super sub.
With the arrival of Erling Haaland at City and Darwin Nunez at Liverpool, how does it change how these two giants play?
We have already gotten an early preview of both strikers. Nunez scored four goals against Red Bull Leipzig & a killer finish yesterday against City to silence the doubters while Haaland scored on his debut to lead Man City to a win against Bayern Munich on Sunday but failed to deliver the goods when called upon.
Which of these strikers will make a bigger impact for their new team? Read on below for our player comparison!
Historically, football trends have been set by winning clubs, especially those that have dominated the UEFA Champions League.
The Barcelona team of the early 2010s is a notable example. Enamored by their style, every club in Europe soon tried to replicate their style to varying degrees of success.
In the last five years, however, the team that won the most UCL titles (Real Madrid with two) has not been the one to set the tactical blueprint other teams seek to emulate. That honor belonged to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Guardiola’s Manchester City.
The final two hurdles Real Madrid had to scale to win the Champions League last season were Manchester City and Liverpool.
To beat both clubs, Madrid played on the back foot for long periods, defending resolutely and relying on their “Champions League heritage” to see them through, despite the seemingly overwhelming odds stacked against them.
This tactic best suits one-off games in cup competitions and is not sustainable for sustained periods like the domestic league campaigns Manchester City and Liverpool contest so hotly.
This season, both strikers will be hugely instrumental to how their new teams play.
Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have both left Manchester City already while Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich means Liverpool will need an attacker to step up and support Salah’s efforts. The Liverpool management, players and fans will hope their new striker can have a similar impact to the last Uruguayan forward to play for them.
To many, Pep Guardiola’s biggest legacy when he finally retires will not just be the number of trophies he won over the course of a glittering career but the tactical innovations he made.
Over the course of his career, he has consistently adapted to keep ahead of his peers. At Barcelona, he made Lionel Messi his false 9 and almost broke football.
At Bayern Munich, he showed his flexibility by moving his full backs into midfield and launching long balls into attack regularly.
At Manchester City, he has enjoyed sustained success with a pure poacher (Aguero) a pressing forward (Gabriel Jesus) and a False nine (Phil Foden).
How he will incorporate Haaland’s style into the Manchester City team successfully is something we’re eager to see.
Jurgen Klopp has also been a master tactician, as shown by how he presided over vastly differing teams and players successfully.
At Dortmund, he stunned Bayern Munich with gegenpressing and replicated it at Liverpool before recognizing that Liverpool would enjoy more success by adopting a more measured style of play.
Attacking full backs are not new. The way Klopp used Alexander Trent-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, however, has been nothing short of revolutionary.
The German Manager has used several different strikers since he joined Liverpool, but the team enjoyed the most success when he moved attacking midfielder, Firmino upfront.
Last season, with Firmino mostly out of form/unfit, Sadio Mane played for sustained periods upfront.
Nunez is a departure from how Klopp has played for a while, just like Haaland represents a challenge for Pep Guardiola. How the two legendary managers use their new strikers will directly influence who wins the Premier League title this season and also determine long-term tactical trends in World Football as well.
Haaland burst onto the scene when he scored 9 goals in one game for the Norwegian U-20 side at the 2019 World Cup. His rise since that moment can only be described as “meteoric”.
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi approaching the end of their illustrious careers, Haaland, along with Kylian Mbappe, has already been tipped to be Football’s next great superstar.
Nunez, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer, despite being a year older than his Norwegian counterpart.
Last season, the Manchester City striker scored 29 goals and added 8 assists in just 30 appearances while Nunez scored 34 goals and laid on 4 assists in 41 games. The Liverpool striker has been a more durable player, however. His 2,821 minutes last season is a clear indicator of his ability to be fit and available more often than the injury prone Haaland who only played for 2,388 minutes for Dortmund last season.
Over the course of their careers, Haaland has played more games at senior club level (181), scored more goals (134) and laid on more assists (35) for teammates than Nunez (67 goals and 20 assists in 138 games) has.
Our verdict: While Erling Haaland is the superior player and striker, Darwin Nunez is a better fit for Liverpool than the giant Norwegian is for the Cityzens.
What do you think?
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