Darwin Núñez found the back of the net for Uruguay in their opening game of the Copa América, contributing to a 3-1 victory over Panama in Miami. This performance aligns with his recent impressive form under Marcelo Bielsa, marking his ninth goal in six games for Uruguay. The 25-year-old now has 12 goals in 24 international appearances, with a notable improvement since Bielsa’s arrival last year.

Leading the scoring charts in the South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, Núñez has delivered in crucial matches. He opened the scoring in Uruguay’s 2-0 win against Brazil in October and netted another in a 2-0 triumph over Argentina at La Bombonera in November. His contributions also include goals against Colombia and Bolivia.

A stint with the national team could be beneficial for Núñez after a challenging end to the season with Liverpool, where he managed just one goal and one assist in his last 11 league games and mostly came off the bench as Jürgen Klopp preferred Cody Gakpo.

Since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2022 for £85m to replace Sadio Mané, Núñez has faced mixed reviews. While his final season at Benfica saw him score 26 goals and provide four assists, his performance in the Premier League has been less prolific, with 20 goals and 11 assists over two seasons. By comparison, Sadio Mané scored 27 goals and provided 10 assists in his last two seasons with Liverpool.

Despite his confidence in front of goal, reflected by taking 4.7 shots per 90 minutes—the highest in the league last season—Núñez only netted 11 times, underperforming his expected goals (xG) by 5.4. It was a tough season for forwards in the region, with Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Liverpool’s Luis Díaz also underperforming their xG significantly. Even Mohamed Salah fell short of his xG by 3.2 goals, despite scoring 18 times.

While Núñez’s finishing needs improvement, his presence makes Liverpool more threatening, as their xG increases when he is on the pitch. His performances for Uruguay should be encouraging for Arne Slot. The Dutch coach favored a 4-2-3-1 formation at Feyenoord, with a lone striker leading the attack, a role Núñez could excel in given his attributes.

Under Bielsa, Uruguay has used a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Núñez as the lone striker, benefiting from a No. 10 who creates scoring opportunities for him. This setup could be replicated at Liverpool, potentially maximizing Núñez’s effectiveness.

Núñez’s suitability for the 4-2-3-1 system is evident, given his hold-up play, speed, power, and ability to assist teammates—he had 13 assists for Liverpool last season, the joint-highest in the squad alongside Salah. Watching him play for Uruguay highlights his potential under Slot, whose Feyenoord team excelled on the counterattack in the Eredivisie.

Slot should consider giving Núñez ample opportunity to prove himself. As Núñez enters his third year in England, a strong Copa América performance could bolster his case at Liverpool. His immediate focus is on helping Uruguay secure a record 16th Copa América title, but continued success under Bielsa could bode well for his return to Liverpool. If Slot sticks with the 4-2-3-1 formation, Núñez could be an ideal fit.