Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had admitted that he can’t guarantee Darwin Nunez won’t see red again in the build-up to Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton.
The Uruguayan was sent off by referee Paul Tierney during the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Anfield, after losing his temper and thrusting his head into Denmark international Joachim Andersen.
Nunez has now served the mandatory three-game suspension that comes with a dismissal for violent conduct, and could feature for Liverpool as they travel to Goodison Park to face bitter rivals Everton – who have failed to win any of their opening five matches.
Speaking to the media before the game, Klopp admitted that the club had spoken to Nunez about managing his temper, and also revealed his belief that Luis Suarez, Nunez’s countryman, had been in contact about how to adapt to Premier League defenders winding him up.
Klopp said: “He is a wonderful young man, honestly, but he has emotions as well. So making a mistake, we didn’t speak for the full 15 days to him about it, telling him: ‘You have to calm down’. Of course we told him, not only now but now especially. ‘You have to calm down’. Of course we told him, not only now but now especially.
“I think Luis Suarez told him, I’m not sure they spoke privately but probably they did via news and using some media. That will happen but it happens to others as well, that’s how it is, you just have to ignore it and use it. Our ideas and how we want to think in these situations is that we pay back with football, and that is how it is.
“I don’t think Tarkowski and Coady are famous for too much this kind of talking during the game. Most of the things he doesn’t understand anyway, but you don’t have to be too creative with it. I don’t think the two boys are like this, but who knows? We will see.”
Klopp added that Nunez must be prepared for physical battles against Everton and in the future, but did concede that he’s powerless to prevent the Palace incident from happening again.
“If Darwin plays then he has to be ready for these things, definitely, that is clear, but when a player is talking to you a lot or is really physical, then he is not in his own game, and he [Nunez] has to use these kind of moments as well. If the other one is too busy wanting to distract him, you just have to use it from a football point of view.
“For the Crystal Palace game, when the defender is searching for this constant contact, then go from there and you decide when you start the movement, these kind of things. It was a lot that came together for the boy, it is all new, it was his first home game, it was so a lot of excitement, the emotional level you go into a game is already [high up] here, you don’t need a lot to be a bit too emotional.
“The two weeks helped for sure, you can see it. Will it never happen again? I don’t know, but I am pretty sure nothing will happen in the next game.”