Erling Haaland beats Darwin Nunez to Golden Boot in simulation of next season

Liverpool and Manchester City have both added top talents to their squad this summer with the arrivals of Darwin Nunez at Anfield and Erling Haaland at the Etihad.

The two clubs were already considered two of the best teams in Europe before these big-money signings, with both teams pushing each other to be better season after season. Jurgen Klopp's side finished just a single point behind City in the Premier League last season as the two sides battled it out for the league title until the final day, with Pep Guardiola's side just pipping the Reds.

Liverpool missed out on a famous quadruple by a single goal and single point in the 2021/22 season, but did win both domestic cups, meaning Klopp has now won every club trophy available during his time on Merseyside. Both clubs are facing a summer of change with the Reds losing club legend Sadio Mane, whilst City look set to lose Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, as well as already seeing Fernandinho depart the club in favour of a return back to Brazil.

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Haaland's arrival at the Etihad once again shows how strong City's power is in the transfer market and Guardiola has finally found Sergio Aguero's replacement. The Norwegian striker's goal record is ridiculous considering he is only 21 years old, having scored 133 goals in 161 games so far in his professional club career.

Liverpool responded to Haaland's arrival with the signing of Uruguayan talent Darwin Nunez from Benfica for a club-record fee. The 23-year-old scored 34 goals in 41 games in all competitions last season, including both legs against his new side in the Champions League quarter-finals.

So, with both forwards now in the Premier League and playing for rival clubs, how could they both perform next season? Which striker would help their side be more successful in the 2022/23 campaign?

Who do you think will have the better 2022/23 season; Erling Haaland or Darwin Nunez? Let us know in the comments section below

Haaland at Man City and Nunez at Liverpool simulated

To set up this prediction, we used Football Manager 2022 to run the simulation. We updated the game with the latest squads and transfers, an we simulated until the end of the 2022/23 season to see what the results were.

Haaland had a brilliant debut season under Guardiola scoring 28 goals and registering three assists in 47 appearances. The Norway international became City's starting striker and finished the season as Premier League top scorer with 23 goals in 33 league appearances.

Haaland averaged a match rating of 7.57, one of the highest ratings in Pep Guardiola's squad, highlighting his consistently brilliant performances in attack for the club. The 21-year-old was able to better his xG rating of 22.5, showing Haaland's ability to turn half-chances into goals for his side resulting in better performances and results for City in the season.

Nunez wasn't able to hit the heights Haaland did in his debut season but still registered 16 goals and seven assists in 48 appearances for the Reds. The Uruguayan striker matched his xG rating in terms of output but was able to adapt to Klopp's system and offer creativity as well as goals in attack, with Mohamed Salah still being Liverpool's top scorer for the season.

The 23-year-old proved to be an adequate replacement for club legend Sadio Mane after the Senegalese forward joined Bayern Munich. Nunez averaged just shy of a goal contribution every two games in the Premier League, with 10 goals and five assists in 32 appearances.

Liverpool and Man City results from the 2022-23 simulation:

Liverpool and City went toe-to-toe in the Premier League once again, with Guardiola's side edging out the Reds and finishing top of the table for the fifth time in six years. Erik ten Hag's Manchester United split the sides, finishing two points above Liverpool in third and five points behind City in first.

City benefitted from Haaland's clinical form in front of goal as the Norwegian was able to help Guardiola's side turn once losing positions into draws and wins. Nunez had a similar impact but on a less-consistent basis as Liverpool had the second-best defensive record in the league, but fell away from City in the table due to suffering too many draws.

Only one goal split the sides in terms of goal scoring, with City having the best attacking record (77 goals scored) and best defensive record (26 goals conceded) in their 38 league games. So, how did the two teams get on in the cup competitions?

City failed to reach either domestic cup final as they suffered a disappointing Carabao Cup third-round defeat to Newcastle following a 4-2 loss at the Etihad.

In the FA Cup, Liverpool dumped City out of the competition in the semi-finals, similar to the 2021/22 season, as Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot just before half-time.

As for Liverpool, the Reds went one step further in each competition compared to City as Klopp's side were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the fourth round against Leicester with Harvey Barnes scoring the only goal of the game in the 71st minute. Liverpool went on to lift the FA Cup for a second successive year after beating City in the semi-finals and Nunez scoring an early winning goal against Southampton in the final.

In the Champions League, Liverpool and City met once again, this time in the final of the competition. The two sides couldn't be separated in normal and extra-time, with Nunez cancelling out Rodri's 36th-minute opener from the penalty spot just after half-time. Liverpool were searching for a historic seventh Champions League title whilst City were looking for their first major European trophy in the club's history.

And it was the Reds who were victorious after Salah, Nunez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all scored their penalties, beating City 4-3 in the shootout after Phil Foden and Cole Palmer missed their spot-kicks. Oxlade-Chamberlain dealt with the pressure and scored the winning penalty after Fabinho's was saved by Ederson, with City's Brazilian 'keeper scoring a penalty in the shootout.

Overall, our simulation suggests that City could dominate the Premier League with Haaland in the side as the Norwegian striker won the Golden Boot in his debut season at the Etihad. Guardiola's side could fall short in the cup competitions though as the Reds ended the season with another FA Cup title and won a seventh Champions League title, cementing their place as England's most successful team in Europe.

Nunez could adequately replace Mane in Klopp's team, scoring crucial goals when it mattered in the FA Cup final and Champions League final. The Reds could win two trophies for a second successive season, whilst City could finish the 2022/23 campaign as Premier League champions for the fifth time in six years.


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