LIVERPOOL 1-1 CRYSTAL PALACE: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool dropped more points last night after a frustrating 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace. A Zaha goal against the run of play was cancelled out by a Diaz stunner, but not before Darwin Nunez was sent off. Here’s a review of the match.
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° Lineup. There were a couple of surprises in the Liverpool XI. Milner and Elliott started in midfield, with Henderson on the bench, whilst Nat Phillips was handed his first start since the end of the 2020/21 season. With Joe Gomez on the bench, it was a curious selection.
It was later revealed that Gomez and Henderson had both been carrying knocks. Roberto Firmino meanwhile had joined the long injury list. Darwin made his first start as a result. The bench was depleted, with the likes of Bajcetic, Clark and Van den Berg making up the numbers.
° Fast start but no end product. After their attitude was called into question following a poor start at Fulham, Liverpool flew out of the traps this time round. They played with the sort of intensity we’ve come to associate with a Jürgen Klopp side.
For half an hour, they were all over the Eagles. They pinned them back and attacked from all angles. Unfortunately, they couldn’t turn all that possession and touches in the box into goals. A determined Palace rearguard put their bodies on the line to ensure that.
Crystal Palace blocked 10 shots against Liverpool on Monday night. That’s the most number of blocks any team has registered in a single game this season.
° Zaha sucker punch. All that good work was undone by a simple Palace counter. Eze got away from Fabinho way too easily and had the simple task of springing Zaha in behind. Fabinho could have taken one for the team knowing the mismatch of pace we had with Phillips at the back.
Big Nat was slow to push up, playing Zaha onside as a result. The Ivorian had the freedom of Anfield to pick his spot and curl home. That was Palace’s first shot and it marked the eighth time in the last ten games that the Reds have conceded first. It’s a problem that needs fixing asap.
° Liverpool confidence is knocked. The goal knocked Klopp’s side out of sync. They were no longer playing with surety. Palace were easily repelling their advances and breaking on the counter at will, with Zaha denied a second breakaway goal by Alisson.
° Red mist descends for Darwin. It had been a running battle all game but in the heat of the moment, the Uruguayan lost his head and leaned into Andersen’s chin with his head. The defender went down clutching his face and Darwin was off.
It was petulant and needless, with James Milner having to urge him off the pitch. The Reds were now a goal down and a man down with a little over half an hour left on the clock.
° Diaz dynamite. The Colombian had endured a frustrating night till he pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a stunning equaliser. He beat a number of men cutting in off the left wing, before unleashing an unstoppable drive past Guaita.
° Huff and puff but Palace stand firm. In the final half hour, Liverpool to their credit piled pressure on the visitors. Diaz led the charge, with his goal elevating his game. It was not to be in the end. If anything Palace could have snatched victory late on, with Zaha hitting the post.
° Predictable pattern. After the early flurry, Palace looked comfortable. Liverpool’s buildup play was predictable, with almost every attack funneled wide. Andersen, Guehi and co were confident defending crosses into the box, with Guaita largely untroubled.
° More dropped points. Just three months after missing out on the league title by a single point (for the second time under Klopp), it’s alarming to see the side drop 4 points in their opening two games. When the points are totalled next May, will we be ruing these two results?
° Darwin’s nightmare home debut. The 23 year old registered 5 shots (the most in the game), hitting the post before halftime and generally being involved. He cost his team however by lashing out at Andersen, and will now incur a three game ban at a time where options are already depleted.
° Few positives. Harvey Elliott was bright first half, he certainly made a case for more starts. Diaz looked like a force of nature in the final half hour whilst Gomez came off the bench to keep Zaha under wraps. It was a night of few positives.
° Should we be worried? A fortnight ago, Jürgen Klopp’s side looked resplendent in the Community Shield victory over Manchester City but have stuttered against sides they should be beating (with all due respect to Fulham and Palace).
What has gone wrong? Is it something we should worry about? Or we can chuck it down to two off days, not helped by a mounting injury casualty list? Whatever the case may be, the manager has to find a solution quickly before we fritter away more points.
° Injury crisis. It’s groundhog’s day yet again. That’s what happens when you stockpile a number of players with questionable injury histories. The manager has insisted he’s happy with his squad so there can be no excuses.
Is it any surprise Thiago, Ox, Keita etc have already missed a game this season? The decision to wait a year to reinforce the midfield is already coming under severe scrutiny. The 2020/21 campaign was a write off due to injuries, let’s hope history is not repeated.
° What next? Liverpool are next in action on Monday night when they travel to Old Trafford to take on Erik Ten Hag’s struggling Manchester United side. The Red Devils have lost both games this season and will be looking for a reaction of their own.
The fact that they will climb above us on the table with a win underlines how poor a start we’ve made to the season. Manchester City have won both games comfortably and look imperious. We simply can’t afford any more slip ups if we’re to challenge for the title.