The Reds were held to a 2-2 draw on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, having to come from behind twice to salvage a result at Craven Cottage. Nunez, who moved to Anfield from Benfica in a transfer worth up to £85million in June, started the match on the bench and made the all-important impact after coming on in the second half.
The Uruguay striker, 23, scored Liverpool’s first equaliser and set up Mohamed Salah to level again after Fulham momentarily restored their lead through Aleksandar Mitrovic. It seems likely Nunez will start in place of Roberto Firmino against the Eagles, which Merson believes is the right decision after his impactful outing against the Cottagers.
“Darwin Nunez should’ve played from the start last week – he proved his mettle when he came on,” the former England international told Sportskeeda. “Liverpool aren’t playing against a dominant team in Crystal Palace – midfield isn’t the biggest part of their game, but they can hurt you on the counter. I think Liverpool will win this game, but it’ll be a hard-fought match.”
The Reds are five points behind Manchester City heading into their game against Patrick Vieira’s side after the defending champions swatted Bournemouth aside with a 4-0 victory on Saturday. Although the season is still in its infancy, anything but a victory over Palace would come as a blow to Liverpool’s title hopes.
Merson added: “The longer this game [against Crystal Palace] drags on, the more worried Liverpool will become. They need to score early here.
Before the game starts, Manchester City could have six points to their name in the Premier League table.
“If Liverpool draw this game, they could be four points behind City. If Man City got a head start of four points on Liverpool at the start of the season, who would your favourite be to win the title?
Every Liverpool fan would admit it’d be Manchester City. Points at the start win you the Premier League, and this is a massive game for Liverpool.”
Liverpool are in action on consecutive Monday nights, with a trip to arch-rivals Manchester United following one week after their home encounter against Palace. Klopp has a number of injury concerns at this early stage of the campaign, with Joel Matip the latest to enter the treatment room after picking up a groin complaint in training.