How do Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez measure up against each other?

Battle of the multi-million pound strikers: Man City and Liverpool are set to lock horns in Leicester armed with shiny new signings… but how do Haaland and Nunez measure up against each other?

  • Liverpool and Manchester City have both freshened up their forward lines
  • Erling Haaland arrived in a much-feted move from Borussia Dortmund
  • Darwin Nunez joined Liverpool off the back of a stunning season at Benfica
  • How do the two new forwards compare in stats ahead of the Community Shield?

Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez are the Premier League’s two most exciting new arrivals with the forwards joining undoubtedly the league’s current foremost clubs in Manchester City and Liverpool

The Norwegian, Haaland, joins from Borussia Dortmund after spending a little over two years in Germany, ensuring he maintained his development before joining one of Europe’s true powerhouses. 

Manchester City beat the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona to the 22-year-old’s signature, and having been considered one of Europe’s most exciting young talents for a few years now, the champions will be expecting the forward to slot in seamlessly.

Darwin Nunez has arrived from Benfica after a brilliant goalscoring season last campaign

Big things are expected for Erling Haaland following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund

Nunez’s rise to the top has taken a slightly different path to Haaland, with the player only really coming into the consciousness of major European teams last season on the back of a number of impressive displays in the Champions League. 

A similarity between both, however, is that their development has been managed intelligently and their moves to European titans have not come straight away, allowing the players to grow and develop in less fish bowl-like environments. 

Haaland’s family made a big point of him not joining Manchester United having left RB Salzburg in January 2020, instead choosing Dortmund. Meanwhile, Nunez’s path to Europe from Uruguay has taken him to Benfica, via the Spanish second tier with Almeria, and eventually onto Liverpool.

Haaland scored against Bayern Munich for Manchester City in pre-season last week

Despite Nunez’s relative struggles in pre-season, the Uruguayan showed what he can do with his four-goal spree away at RB Leipzig earlier this month.

With City having wrapped up Haaland’s signature for a relatively measly sum of £54m and Liverpool having splashed out £85m on the Uruguay international, Sportsmail decided to investigate how they compare ahead of this weekend’s Community Shield. 

With the help of Opta, we have managed to breakdown their stats in a number of areas over the last two seasons (since 2020-21) to reveal just what City and Liverpool fans can expect.  

Nunez, after a tough start to life, enjoyed a stellar outing scoring four goal in 45 minutes


The raw numbers paint an impressive picture for both players. Nunez, 23, across his career so far has a total of 68 goals across 139 appearances. Haaland, 22, meanwhile, boasts 155 goals across 200 games so far in his quite significantly longer career. 

With both players having plied their trade outside of Europe’s top six divisions for much of their careers so far, Opta was able to provide a breakdown in their stats over the past two seasons to better illustrate their feats ahead of their respective competitive debuts. 

Since the start of 2020-21, Haaland has scored 49 goals in 52 league appearances at a rate of a goal every 88 minutes. Nunez’s record pales slightly in comparison, with the Uruguayan scoring 32 goals in 57 league appearances across that same time frame. 

Haaland showed himself to a striker capable of performing at the very highest level while at Borussia Dortmund

While it appears that Nunez has played more than Haaland in that time, a breakdown of the minutes actually reveal that the Norwegian has played almost 600 more during that period, clocking up 4,324 to Nunez’s 3,778. 

Indeed, Nunez’s overall stats are slightly skewed by the fact that 2021-22 was very much a breakthrough year for the forward. Last season, he broke into the Benfica first team, making 28 appearances and scoring 26 times. His first season in Portugal, in 2020-21, saw him only score five times for the club in the league as it took the forward some time to adjust to life in a much faster-paced division than he was used to.

In Europe, once again Haaland’s record on the face of it appears quite significantly superior to his Liverpool counterpart. The Norwegian has 13 goals in the Champions League in 11 games at an astonishing rate of a goal every 70 minutes since 2020-21.

Nunez’s performances, notably in the Champions League last season, alerted hm to Europe’s top clubs

Nunez, who has only played 10 games in the Champions League proper – all coming last season – has six goals in the competition at a rate of a goal every 102 minutes. Interestingly enough, it was his performances in the competition last season, notably against Liverpool themselves, that alerted Europe’s top clubs to his talents. 

Internationally, Haaland again has something of a bit more pedigree in his career so far. For Norway, the former Molde forward, has 20 goals in 19 appearances at a rate of a hitting the back of the net every 79 minutes since the start of the 2020-21 campaign. Nunez, who has made nearly half the number of appearances for his national side, has one goal in 10 appearances in that time. 

Laid bare, the stats paint a picture that City have certainly got the better end of the bargain in securing Haaland simply because of his goalscoring feats. That may well be the case, but Nunez showed glimpses in pre-season of his ability in front of goal, notably in his performance away at RB Leipzig. 

Off the back of his breakthrough season in Europe, Liverpool will be banking on Nunez to begin getting his goals per minute ratio down to somewhere near the level of Haaland’s. 


Both players will be expected to contribute in view of their teammates also finding the back of the net. Mohamed Salah, in particular, is unlikely to be a happy man should Nunez regularly pick the option of going himself. 

Meanwhile, City’s success over the last two seasons, including winning two league titles and reaching the Champions League final, has built on a foundation of playing regularly without a recognised number nine. Kevin De Bruyne led their goalscoring charts last season with 15 while Ilkay Gundogan, with 13, was at the summit the season before. Pep Guardiola is unlikely to want to jeopardise those invaluable goals from midfield. 

City and Liverpool’s style of play both demands whoever is in the ‘number nine’ role contributes to other areas, whether that be dropping in and linking for vacating space for wide players to dart into. Neither forward would have been signed had either club had any doubts about their link-up play. 

Haaland combined well with the likes of Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund and his presence in the team was not overbearing to his fellow stars

A worry for both sides, were they to have any, would be that the two players are arriving from teams where they were the undoubted focal points. Attacking play went through them and it was their job to put the ball in the net. 

Haaland and Nunez have shown themselves to be capable in aiding teammates, with both having a pretty similar record when it comes to assists over the previous two years.

In the Bundesliga alone, Haaland recorded 16 assists from the start of 2020-21 to the end of last season at a rate of 0.3 per game. Nunez, meanwhile, recorded 14 across that same period at exactly the same rate, but he recorded 10 assists alone in his first season for Benfica. 

The Uruguayan’s ability to drift wide allows him to become an asset and other players to steam into the middle of the final third

That said, concerns will grow at City in particular should Haaland not deliver on the goalscoring front, choosing instead to create more for teammates.

Rodri, City’s midfield general, admitted this summer that they are going to have to change their style of play after the arrival of Haaland.  

‘We’ve been playing three years with kind of a false nine, which it seems brought success,’ he said.

‘I think we are going to change a little bit, but let’s see how.’

Nunez’s ability to drift wide and bring other teammates into play will benefit the likes of Salah and Jota, who like to drift in off the flank into vacated central areas. Expect both to be spoken of in glowing terms by their teammates.


Both strikers are physically imposing and it is a wonder how both managers, rarely having used players of such stature in their time at their respective English club’s so far, plan to deploy their two forwards. 

Haaland clocks in at an astonishing 1.94m while Nunez measures at a slightly shorter 1.87. Both, as seen across the last two years, possess exceptional pace and can physically bully their opposing centre-backs. 

In terms of aerial duels, Haaland and Nunez should be dreams for their managers in terms of winning their battles in the air against centre-backs. 

The Norwegian’s speed allowed him to dominate quality back lines during his time in Germany

Haaland himself averaged 1.5 aerials won per 90 across the past two seasons, while Nunez just edges that particular battle, clocking in at 1.6 per 90. 

Neither striker are going to find their centre-backs lumping it long up to them too often, but should either team need a goal then they know that they now have that option in their back pocket. Both sides possess some of the best midfield runners in the division, with the likes of De Bruyne and Naby Keita likely to lap up any dropping balls on the edge of the 18-yard box. 

Meanwhile, as mentioned, both players possess express pace and this is sure to be used as a weapon by both coaches when it comes to their strikers pressing from the front. 

Nunez’s ability with his head means Liverpool possess a crossing option that they didn’t previously

It is no secret that Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp both demand a lot from their forward lines, both with the ball and without it. Haaland and Nunez will be expected to contribute to winning the ball back high up the pitch. 

Indeed, City and Liverpool both now possess the option to do something that they certainly weren’t able to last season regularly: cross the ball. It will interesting to see whether City’s regular cut backs are exchanged for more deeper crosses for Haaland to get his head on to either score himself or knock down for a teammate.  

Indeed, stats since the start of 2020-21 display both players as adept at doing such. Haaland, playing initially under Edin Terzic at Dortmund, a manager who is insistent on his players pressing in the transitional phase, slotted in seamlessly alongside Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus. 

Haaland averaged 0.94 possessions won in the final third per 90 during the last two seasons. Nunez, meanwhile, was a snip below that coming in at 0.91 per 90. Both can boast very respectable numbers in that area. 

Haaland’s ability with his feet enables him to easily evade defenders before knocking the ball off

One concern for City fans might be Haaland’s injury record over the past two seasons. The Norwegian missed 16 games alone last year through a combination of injuries, mostly muscle problems and then a hip flexor problem which plagued him for much of the season. 

City’s ability to rotate will likely offset this, with Haaland bound to miss at least some of the season owing to his young body very much still developing. 

Nunez himself underwent knee surgery last year and is alleged to have suffered an ACL injury earlier in his career. It is no secret that footballers can see their careers suffer on the back of early stage knee injuries or surgery. 

Despite this, their physicality, matched with their prowess in front of goal will make them a match for any back line. If their height and strength is offset somehow, then both sides will find joy in making the forward come short to receive it or indeed utilising their pace over the top.  

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