Jurgen Klopp blanked out Darwin Nunez as he trotted past him. He loved what he saw when the Uruguayan played at Anfield for the first time, even if it hurt his side, but he was in Benfica colors that day. He was less happy with what he saw in the £64m striker’s home debut than he hurt Liverpool again.
While Nunez was sent off for a combination of stupidity and violent behavior, Klopp’s other big purchase from Portugal that year spared Liverpool a rare defeat at Anfield. Luis Diaz was a superlative equalizer but her start to the season was stuttering. After two games, they are four points behind Manchester City.
The title race may not be over yet, but even with 108 points to play it’s difficult to close that gap to Pep Guardiola’s side, especially when eventual winners hover around the 95-point mark.
Once again, they paid first for the goal they conceded. Crystal Palace completed a capital double for Liverpool followed by Fulham who took the lead against them and were two points behind. Like Fulham, they shone with Wilfried Zaha succeeding in Aleksandar Mitrovic’s place, albeit with very different methods, by worrying them.
But there were similarities to last Saturday, so there were also the biggest differences. Nunez swapped the role of hero for villain. His story consists of three debuts: two great, one terrible. He had scored on his Liverpool arc and his debut Premier League appearance and proved an electrifying force as a substitute in both. With a first start and first appearance in red at Anfield, he didn’t finish that game.
He was sent off for headbutting Joachim Andersen, albeit without much force, although the defender reacted theatrically. His provocation was no justification and Nunez needed James Milner to steer him away from referee Paul Tierney before Klopp ignored him as he finally made his way.
Even before that it hadn’t been his night: an early volley went wide, a shot at half-time hit the post. With Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota injured, his stupidity and subsequent suspension came at a bad time.
It was all the more important that someone else showed up and Diaz signed on. His strike was wonderful, the Colombian ripping through infield and flicking a shot past Vicente Guaita. His goals have been relatively rare for Liverpool and this was just a seventh but he has the ability to make crucial contributions. When Liverpool were down a goal and a man down, he woke up Anfield.
Defeat had beckoned. In fact, it still did. Palace were inches from a historic triumph as the stretching Zaha almost scored his and her second goal when he turned a Cheikh Doucoure cross into the post.
While Liverpool suffered six consecutive defeats on a deserted ground in lockdown, Palace became the last visitor to win a Premier League game in front of a crowd at Anfield, but that was in 2017. Patrick Vieira was tantalizingly close to a result that could have been even surpassed last season’s win at Etihad Stadium.
It was a reminder that Palace can be the scourge of the superpowers. Their speed on break means they are capable of launching ambushes. They absorbed the pressure, their 5-4-1 formation giving them strong defence, Andersen excelled in the midst of a defiant defense and Liverpool were caught on counter-attack by the magnificent Zaha and the creative Eberechi Eze.
It was the quickest of all breaks, with Palace moving from one penalty area to the other with just three players involved: Guaita’s release was intercepted by Eze, who played his pass into the mile-long space behind Liverpool’s defence.
Zaha accelerated past Nat Phillips and kicked a sidefoot shot past Alisson. Phillips, Liverpool’s fifth-choice centre-back, started with Joel Matip, who joined Ibrahima Konate on the treatment table, and Joe Gomez only felt himself fit enough to start on the bench.
At first it seemed like his presence would not matter, but Liverpool had 17 shots in the first half and went behind.
It was the sixth consecutive Premier League game in which they conceded the opening goal. Although Milner could have scored within a minute, he could have crossed a shot, and Harvey Elliott and Nunez could have done it in the top 10.
Mohamed Salah missed two chances before Zaha struck, narrowly missing a shot to score a winner. Fabio Carvalho could have almost bailed out Liverpool too but Palace’s persistence meant they deserved their point.
And so Liverpool travel to Old Trafford next week when the two most successful clubs in English football history are both still hoping for their first league win of the season. The serial winners have become the winless.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/liverpool-crystal-palace-result-final-score-darwin-nunez-b2145607.html Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Result: Final Result, Goals, Highlights and Match Report from Premier League Match