Michael Owen tells Liverpool to back Darwin Nunez and find Mohamed Salah replacement

Michael Owen tells Liverpool to back Darwin Nunez and find Mohamed Salah replacement

Liverpool must back Darwin Nunez to evolve and maintain their tradition of top strikers, according to Michael Owen.

The former Anfield star believes Uruguayan forward Nunez has “so much” to offer in his overall game that he is worth persisting with, despite criticism for missing key chances during a season which saw him dropped by Jurgen Klopp for the run-in.

“Nunez gives Liverpool so much, we judge him on his finishing which has room for improvement but other parts of his game are very good,“ Owen told BoyleSports.

“Liverpool have been blessed in recent years with incredible players, going back to Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Salah of course, you just hope that great tradition continues.”

Nunez scored 11 Premier League goals in 2023-24 but the majority came against clubs in the lower half, whereas Mohamed Salah notched 18 while also suffering a quiet finish to the year.

For Owen, Liverpool must come up with a succession plan for 31-year-old Salah ahead of his contract expiring in 12 months’ time.

The ex-England striker says the Reds struggled with the recent overhaul to their midfield and must avoid the same issues when replacing Salah.

“Whether Salah stays or not, he's in his 30s now, he's not going to be there forever and Liverpool are going to have to find someone at some point to go and get those goals again,” he continued.

“They have certainly missed a lot of chances in the last month or so and that's cost them. It's been said before but I agree, watching Liverpool this year, I think they have done well to have gone as far as they have.

“Another month and hanging on in there, they could have done it with better finishing. I look at Arsenal now and I do think they look like a slick outfit, they have just nosed past Liverpool, with Manchester City ahead. I didn't think Liverpool would win the league at the start of the season.

“You knew Naby Keita was going, you knew Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was going, James Milner, but then for Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, it was the whole midfield ripped out and then all of a sudden you have to learn on the job.

“I just thought it would take time, and I've been astonished how well they did. But early on in the season they were not playing well, and look how often they were behind in games, it was incredible, you can't keep doing that. So I actually think they may have over-performed this season, they have won a trophy and qualified for the Champions League, not the ideal season but given circumstances it's not been a failure.

“Scoring chances is key though and if they could have done that in the last month or so we would still be talking about them in the race.”