After hurting his shoulder against Newcastle, Darwin Nunez, a forward for Liverpool, has “a chance” of meeting Real Madrid in the Champions League, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.
In the second half of the Reds’ 2-0 victory at St. James’ Park on Saturday, the 23-year-old was replaced.
During an altercation with Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier earlier, Nunez exited the field while hurting his shoulder.
There is a chance, but we need to see how he will handle the agony, according to Klopp.
Nunez, a Uruguayan who joined Liverpool from Benfica in the summer, has 11 goals for the Reds this season across all competitions.
The opening leg of Liverpool’s round of 16 match against Real Madrid is on Tuesday at 00:00 GMT at Anfield.
The two teams haven’t faced off since Real defeated PSG 1-0 in the Champions League final in Paris last year.
After that game, Klopp stated, “I watched it again this weekend.” “Then I understood why I hadn’t.
“It was torturous; we played well and had a chance to win, but they scored the game-winning goal. They are there for their chance, and you can tell from their experience and how little they lose confidence. You may take away that knowledge from them.
“We are several teams operating in various eras. Let’s see who succeeds.”
Liverpool enters the game on Tuesday with back-to-back Premier League victories against Everton and Newcastle, an improvement in form after losing to Wolves, and a miserable January in which they only managed to pick up one point in the standings.
The recent performances by his team have given Klopp confidence, and he is hopeful that they have now regained their form.
“It will be a terrific game,” Klopp continued. “It is one of the biggest games in the world [with added] recent history.”
“I’m really glad we can play it right now. It would have been different four weeks ago, but timing is everything in life, so perhaps we were able to get back on our feet in due course.
“Now that we have these two results, we can hopefully build on them, but we still have two mega games to play.
“We have no chance of winning if we don’t play well. Real Madrid still has a chance even if they don’t perform at their peak.”
“I believe they will succeed,” said Benitez
Rafael Benitez claimed Liverpool have what it takes to compete with Real when he was on BBC Radio 5 Live and speaking to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
Benitez, who managed both Real and the Reds and guided them to the 2005 Champions League championship, said: “The difference from before is that Real Madrid frequently played in finals; now that Liverpool also has this experience, they will be present.
“The fact that they have too many crucial games coming up and you are already under pressure is the only issue, in my opinion. Following your game against Newcastle, you have to play Real Madrid, two very significant and demanding matches. Can they handle everything that is going on?
“With the players returning, I believe so. It is a danger. They will do well if practically everyone is in good physical shape.”