Virgil van Dijk says that his teammates back Darwin Núñez, but he has to learn | Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk has said Darwin Núñez needs to control himself after being sent off for violent conduct on his full Premier League debut for Liverpool. The Uruguay international was “really stupid” to leave Liverpool with 10 men against Crystal Palace according to Joachim Anderson, the defender on the receiving end of Núñez’s header at Anfield on Monday.

Liverpool, already without strikers Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota through injury, will lose their key summer signing for Premier League games against Manchester United, Bournemouth and Newcastle. He will not be available until the Merseyside derby at Everton on September 3.

Van Dijk said the 23-year-old, the first Liverpool player to be dismissed for violent conduct during Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, has the support of his team-mates but must ensure that moment of madness does not happen again.

“He has to control himself, definitely,” said the Liverpool defender. “He has to fend for himself [and] he must know these things can happen, especially in the Premier League.

“Obviously he was disappointed and probably disappointed in himself. But there is a learning curve and we will always support him. He knows it shouldn’t happen again and hopefully it will.”

Núñez will undergo an extended pre-season training program during his suspension and Klopp plans to speak to the forward about his loss of self-control. The striker aimed two headers at Andersen in the 57th minute of the 1-1 draw and the Palace defender claimed Núñez was easily upset.

Andersen said: “The whole match I sat very close to him, I annoyed him a lot and did well against him. I think that’s why he was mad at me. He hit me, the first one, in a cross, and I told him not to. I was mad at him. Then he did it again, which to me is really stupid, so it’s a clear red card.

Liverpool have failed to win their opening two games of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 2012-13 and are already four points behind Manchester City. Van Dijk knows Liverpool will be written off prematurely after their disappointing start, but says they can ignore the outside noise and take encouragement from their display against Palace.

The Dutch captain said: “I don’t want to blame different things. We want to do well but it’s funny because we played the Community Shield and won and everyone said a lot of other things and now we’ve drawn twice and people want to write us off. But it is the outside world and we concentrate on what we can influence and that is our performance.

“It was, especially with 10 men, a great performance. We put them under pressure, made them nervous, let them kick long balls. It’s something we have to learn from, keep going, but we want to win and we’ll look for that in the next match.

“We put them under pressure, we took a lot of risks because we had to score the equalizer and hope to get the winner. But we’re not going to bring 10 men, that’s not going to happen.”

Luis Díaz scored a superb equalizer for Liverpool four minutes after Nunez’s dismissal, and Van Dijk believes the Colombian international has much more to offer this season. “Luis is a fantastic player,” he said. “It’s something we need and he provided some special action and he can be so much better.

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