In a bizarre night of football, 10-man Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace at Anfield.
Liverpool’s performance was mostly great, but they lacked a cutting edge and were caught on the counter by a clinical Crystal Palace. The result leaves them with just 2 points so far this season, already four behind Manchester City atop the Premier League.
Worse, this draw goes with the Fulham stalemate opening week to make this the first time since Jurgen Klopp has become Liverpool manager that the Reds have failed to win one of their opening two games in a Premier League season.
That is the kind of record the Reds would rather have avoided, even if the performance would give Jurgen Klopp many reasons to be optimistic about his team’s performances going forward this season.
Liverpool dominated the game, out-shooting Palace 24-7. Where they fell down was in the quality of those shots, with the on-target difference being 4-3 and the Reds only winning the xG battle 1.85 to 1.05.
Obviously the Reds will point to Darwin Nunez’s difficulties, both before his red card and then the red itself, as a factor in that. But it was a strange game for Liverpool where you felt like they could score at any moment yet they never did.
“Massive game from us with 10 men. Putting such an effort,” said Jurgen Klopp to Sky Sports after the game.
“The real feeling I have in all this is: I’m proud, to be honest,” Klopp went on. “Everything went against us this week; it was crazy it was like a witch was in the building. Every time it was somebody else had [injury] problems.”
“Putting such a performance, especially with the circumstances, I’m really proud of them.”
Luis Diaz’s strike was particularly special, where he beat several men before rocketing a shot into the top corner. But his performance was just as spectacular, completing a game-high 6 tackles and a joint game-high 7 take-ons.
Klopp was similarly moved by Diaz’s performance. “Especially after the goal, he played for three-four players.”
Luis Diáz for Liverpool against Crystal Palace:
◉ Most duels won (16)
◉ Most take-ons completed (7)
◉ Most tackles made (6)
◉ Most fouls won (3)
No Liverpool player has won more duels in a single PL game since Lucas Leiva in April 2017 (18 vs. Everton). ? pic.twitter.com/0FrnXoP27x
— Squawka (@Squawka) August 15, 2022
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Of course, the brilliance of Diaz’s goal only got Liverpool a point because Crystal Palace had scored a sublime strike of their own in the first-half when Ebere Eze followed up a delightful bit of dribbling (7/8 take-ons completed) with a laser-like through-ball to Wilfried Zaha who took full advantage of Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis, pulling onto Nat Phillips, beating him for pace, then slotting beyond Alisson.
“The finish; that’s Henry. That is a real top-class finish,” said Gary Neville, comparing Zaha’s open-bodied pass-shot to the legendary Thierry Henry, who made that kind of finish his signature.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp actually shed some light on the way that goal came about and how Eze’s great dribbling shattered what was actually a great Liverpool defensive phase.
“We should have won the ball. Protection was actually right we had 2 on 1 but Eze actually gets out there,” said Klopp. “That should not happen.” But it did happen, and the game ended 1-1.