Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez has been accused of suffering from “stage fright” with the Merseyside derby against Everton now just days away.
Nunez, 23, has struggled for consistency since joining Liverpool from Benfica in the summer transfer window in a deal which could cost the Reds up to £85m.
The Uruguay international has managed a respectable return of 10 goals in 26 appearances so far in his debut season in English football.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are now 10th in the Premier League, 11 points off the top four – with a difficult test to come on Monday when Everton visit Anfield.
BBC pundit Garth Crooks believes Nunez is struggling with the pressure that comes from playing for Liverpool.
“I’m beginning to think Nunez is suffering from stage fright,” Crooks wrote in his column.
“Clubs don’t come much bigger than Liverpool and the pressure can be enormous. Nunez is really struggling in front of goal.”
Nunez has received some unexpected support from Newcastle striker Callum Wilson, who believes there is much more to come from the Uruguayan.
“It’s not a league for boys, it’s a league for men and at the end of the day he’s come from a league which is a little bit different.
“It’s going to take him time to adapt. But there’s obviously no chill on social media so any little thing that happens is becoming a big thing and he’s going to see that, he’s going to be sent that [meme] and he’s going to see people laughing at that.
“And then it just makes you go more and more inward, especially at that age.
“He seems like a vibrant guy, like a no nonsense kind of guy, so he just has to stick his chest out and keep going. If you miss the chances, so what.
“As long as you are in position to make those chances you’re not going to keep missing. The clinical finishing will come over time after he’s playing more regularly and he’s played in this league for a little while.”