Our 3️⃣ points after Nùñez sees red and Liverpool draw with Crystal Palace | OneFootball
Our 3️⃣ points after Nùñez sees red and Liverpool draw with Crystal Palace
Liverpool had to settle for a share of the spoils for a second successive Premier League match when they were held at home by Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Here’s what we made of the action from Anfield.
The Darwin award
Prior to the 57th minute of this match, the early signs were looking very good for Liverpool’s club record signing Darwin Núñez.
The Uruguayan followed up his goal against Manchester City in the Community Shield with a goal and an assist against Fulham last weekend, and perhaps most importantly, the 23-year-old looks like a player who isn’t afraid to get stuck in and put himself about.
But there is a fine line between competitiveness and madness, and Núñez found himself on the wrong side of it when he was shown a straight red card for a clear headbutt on Palace’s Joachim Andersen here.
They say you shouldn’t give the referee a decision to make but Paul Tierney’s decision to brandish a red card was the easiest one he had to make all evening, and it makes you wonder what on earth was going through Núñez’s mind.
Liverpool have clearly got themselves a very talented player and he will become an even better one if he’s able to properly harness that fire in his belly.
But he owes Jürgen Klopp and his new team-mates a big apology after a very immature rush of blood to the head, and now he’ll have three matches on the sidelines to think about what he’s done.
One point gained or two points dropped?
Arsenal and Liverpool as your first two fixtures is a tough start to the season in anybody’s books, and we should not have been judging Crystal Palace too harshly if they had come out of those two games without any points.
In the event they battled well against Arsenal last week and were somewhat unfortunate not to take anything from that game, while they can consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to only take a point away from Anfield.
Patrick Vieira set up with five defenders against Liverpool and a system designed to absorb pressure and hit on the counter-attack. For the first 30 minutes they were doing a decent enough job of defending their goal, but they kept putting themselves under pressure with poor out balls, and it seemed like only a matter of time until Liverpool would take the lead.
But then Eberechi Eze shimmied wonderfully past Fabinho and played Wilfried Zaha in to score a brilliant goal against the run of play, and suddenly it felt like Vieira’s plan was working perfectly.
Palace haven’t won at Anfield since the 2014/15 season but the chance was there tonight, especially when Nùñez was sent for an early bath, and they will be disappointed they couldn’t get the job done.
It has been a promising start to the season all the same, and their performances have definitely been better than their results so far.
A sub-optimal start
You could also argue that Liverpool’s performances have been better than their results so far this season, but expectations are so high at Anfield that it probably won’t feel like it.
The Reds started brilliantly against Palace and on another night they might have scored the first goal and won comfortably, or kept all 11 players on the pitch and come back to claim all three points.
Harvey Elliott impressed, Luis Díaz fought valiantly and Mohamed Salah showed his usual quality, but it just didn’t quite click in the way it usually does, and everyone will go home disappointed with their night’s work.
Jürgen Klopp is currently unable to call upon numerous players due to injury or lack of fitness and you’d imagine Liverpool will grow into the season and probably not hit their best form until a few weeks from now.
With two draws from their first two games, next Monday’s trip to Old Trafford suddenly takes on even greater significance, and a defeat there really would put a different complexion on things.
But for now there is no need to panic, and Klopp will be telling his players to keep their chins up, put their relatively poor start behind them and start working towards the next game.
Liverpool are 12th and Manchester United are 20th, but this long and winding season has only just begun.
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