Sam Allardyce believes Liverpool will be in contention to win the Premier League title “next season” if Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo maintain their current performance levels.
The former England manager says the Reds took a risk by signing two unknown quantities from abroad but it could well pay off for manager Jurgen Klopp:
“It’s very risky. Very risky to bring in two players. Great talent, great reputation, but if you bring in two of them at the same time who have never played in the Premier League, you have no idea if they’re going to fail or succeed. I don’t care how much you’ve paid for them or who they are or where they’ve come from. You have no idea if they’ll succeed or not. I had Mario Jardel who scored 264 goals in 380 games, and he had no chance. He couldn’t cope.”
“Liverpool, you see those two guys next year, and next season they could be the making of them winning the Premier League again because they were deemed as quality players from where they’ve come from. But that settling in period with the family, the schools, the wife or girlfriend, that’s the most important first and foremost.”
Nunez joined from Benfica for £85m last summer and he has slowly settled into life in England, having scored 14 times in 31 appearances.
Gakpo only made the £45m switch from PSV Eindhoven in January and looked way out of his depth in his first four or five matches, but his brace against United will be a huge boost to his confidence.
Liverpool are very much out of title contention this season, with Arsenal and Manchester City running away with things, but circumstances could change next campaign.
Whether Nunez and Gakpo can have the same impact as the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, though, we shall have to wait and see.