Liverpool striker flops that show Darwin Nunez is not a sure thing, including Mario Balotelli

Darwin Nunez is a striker signing that just can't go wrong, surely? With Liverpool, though, it hasn't always been that simple when it comes to expensive strikers.

If reports are to be believed, Darwin Nunez is the man that Liverpool will task with replacing Sadio Mane this summer.

The Benfica forward is just 22 years old, has scored for fun in Portugal and has been likened to Uruguayan legend Edinson Cavani. At a reported £86million, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, if Liverpool's history of signing big-name strikers for good money is anything to go by, quite a lot…

El-Hadji Diouf

Cast your minds back to the summer of 2002. Senegal beat world champions France in the opening match of the World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and all the attention was on El-Hadji Diouf.

Senegalese striker Diouf had just signed for Liverpool for £10million after what was, essentially, a bang-average couple of seasons for Lens in Ligue 1. Big things were expected, absolutely nothing materialised.

In fairness, Diouf did spend a lot of his time out wide for Liverpool, but that is generally where non-scoring strikers go to watch their careers die. And, with just six goals in 79 matches, that's pretty much what his Liverpool career did.

Mario Balotelli

Why always you, Mario? Mario Balotelli was a player with a big reputation who had generally delivered before at Inter Milan, Manchester City and AC Milan. When Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona, the Italian was the man Liverpool thought could replace him.

That probably wasn't the worst idea, but it didn't turn out all that well. He swapped shirts with Pepe at half-time in one match and landed a fine and suspension for a tweet that appeared to be anti-Semitic in nature.

He only lasted 28 games at Liverpool and scored four goals - only one of which was in the Premier League.

Fabio Borini

Fabio Borini has always been one of those players who seemed more of an idea than he was an actual player. Take a look at his CV and you'll find not only Liverpool, but Chelsea, Roma and AC Milan too, as well as a cap for Italy.

He has never really become a top player for any of them, though. Liverpool themselves paid £10.5million for him, and for that they received three goals in 38 matches.

He did much better at Sunderland on loan, and as a result Liverpool got a lot of that money back. That said, Fabio Borini was an unequivocal Liverpool failure.

Andy Carroll

When Liverpool spent most of the £50million they received for Fernando Torres on Andy Carroll, the whole of football let out a collective 'huh?'

Carroll was half-way through his first real Premier League season at Newcastle and it was going well, with him plundering 11 goals in 19 appearances for the newly-promoted Magpies.

He definitely didn't have a £35million track record, though, and he proved to be an absolute disaster for Liverpool. He didn't suit them, they didn't suit him, and he could only manage six goals in 44 Premier League matches - two of which came in the same game.

Sean Dundee

At £2million, Sean Dundee might not appear all that expensive, but it was a fair chunk of money back in 1998.

Dundee has a scored goals in Germany, although he wasn't especially prolific. With 61 goals in 162 Bundesliga matches. Liverpool wanted some striker cover while Robbie Fowler was injured, and Dundee had boasted he was as fast as Michael Owen.

If he was, he never showed it, and he only managed three appearances for Liverpool (all as a substitute) before heading back to Germany after one season for half the money Liverpool paid for him.

Robbie Keane

The Robbie Keane signing looked like a guaranteed home run for Liverpool in 2008. He had a proven track record in the Premier League and was a self-confessed Liverpool fan.

Fernando Torres was already there and Keane appeared a really nice fit to partner him considering he was comfortable working in deeper areas than the Spaniard.

It was pretty much a disaster, though. For their £19million outlay, Liverpool got little more than missed chances and fluffed lines.

Seven goals and 28 games later, Liverpool cut their losses and returned him to Tottenham.

Fernando Morientes

Fernando Morientes was another who looked a very astute signing for Liverpool when he arrived from Real Madrid for €9.3million in 2005.

He had scored goals in La Liga for both Real Madrid and Zaragoza, and he just had the look of one of those strikers who instinctively scored goals.

He struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game, though, and it never quite worked out for Morientes in a Liverpool shirt. Ultimately, 12 goals in 60 appearances tells its own sorry story.

READ MORE: Divock Origi's defining moments: How departing super sub became Anfield cult hero

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