Liverpool welcomed Crystal Palace to Anfield for their Premier League matchday two commitment on Monday night (August 15).
Jurgen Klopp’s team started their Premier League campaign with a 2-2 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage on August 6 and were eager to return to winning ways.
The Reds’ determination was evident from the first minute, but a stubborn Crystal Palace kept them from registering their first victory of the campaign, restricting them to a 1-1 draw.
Luis Diaz scored the equalizer for the hosts in the 61st minute after Wilfried Zaha fired the visitors ahead with a neat finish in the first half.
The Merseyside giants started the game on the front foot and had an early chance to pull ahead. Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped in a neat cross into the Crystal Palace box, which was punched away by Vicente Guaita.
The keeper’s unconvincing clearance fell nicely for James Milner, who went for goal on a half volley. Luckily for the visitors, Guaita came off his line quickly, putting pressure on Milner as he hit the ball wide of Palace’s goal.
Crystal Palace defended in numbers in the opening 30 minutes and were looking for ways to hit the Reds on the break.
Their strategy paid dividends in the 32 minutes when Eberechi Eze played Zaha through against the run of play and the forward confidently curled the ball into the bottom-right corner.
Zaha got another chance nine minutes later, but his first touch let him down, allowing Alisson Becker to collect the ball.
The Reds came close to equalizing just moments before the half-time whistle, with Darwin Nunez’s scrambled effort hitting the post.
Three minutes into the second half, Mohamed Salah played Nunez through on goal, but Joel Ward reacted quickly to cut out the Egyptian’s through ball.
Three minutes before the hour mark, Nunez headbutted Joachim Andersen off the ball, following a little provocation from the defender.
The referee reached straight for the red and sent the Uruguayan off, leaving Liverpool a man down for over 30 minutes.
However, Liverpool did not hesitate to take the fight to the visitors, with Diaz scoring a stunning equalizer to restore parity.
Zaha had an opportunity to win the game for the visitors in the 78th minute, but applied a weak right-footed finish and rattled the woodwork.
The last opportunity of the match fell to Salah in the 87th minute. The forward got on the end of a loose ball around the Palace box and dispatched an excellent curler.
Unfortunately for the home supporters, the ball zipped inches away from the top-left corner of the net.
It was a decent display by Liverpool, but decent might not be enough if they want to keep pace with title holders Manchester City, who are already four points ahead.
Here are three Liverpool stars who impressed and two who underperformed in their 1-1 draw with Palace on Monday night.
Performed: Trent Alexader-Arnold
Arguably the best right-back on the planet, Trent Alexander-Arnold was by far the Reds’ most potent creator on Monday.
He whipped in venomous crosses into the area, brought forwards into play with his inventive passes, and was always on the lookout for opportunities to make a difference.
The England international was weak in duels and went to sleep for Zaha’s goal, but his attacking play made up for the mishaps.
Against Patrick Vieira’s side, he played five key passes, accurately delivered four crosses and 11 long balls, and had four shots (one off-target, three blocked). He also made a clearance, intercepted once, and attempted a tackle.
Underperformed: Andy Robertson
While Alexander-Arnold dominated the right flank, Andy Robertson profusely struggled on the left.
His link-up play with Diaz was weak as the opposition often got past him. The Scot also rarely created opportunities for his teammates to capitalize on.
Robertson lost five of his six duels, ceded possession 13 times, did not even play a single key pass, and misplaced two crosses and two long balls.
He only had one shot, which was easily blocked by the Palace defense. Robertson was hooked off in the 63rd minute, with Kostas Tsimikas replacing him.
Performed: Harvey Elliott
With Thiago Alcantara out of the match due to a hamstring strain, Harvey Elliott got the opportunity to take his place in the starting XI.
The youngster made full use of the opportunity, emerging as Liverpool’s best midfielder on Monday night.
The Englishman combined well with Salah on the right flank, created a couple of good chances, and put in a great defensive shift as well.
Elliott played two key passes, had one shot on target, won six of his 10 ground duels, and had 90 percent passing accuracy (54 completed passes).
He also made two interceptions and attempted five tackles, winning three.
Fabio Carvalho replaced him in the 79th minute.
Underperformed: Darwin Nunez
Liverpool’s marquee signing Nunez had a night to forget on Monday.
He missed two decent goalscoring opportunities in the first half and was rightfully sent off following a moment of madness in the 57th minute.
Andersen put pressure on Nunez while defending, and the Uruguayan first tried to give him a little headbutt from the back of his head.
Realizing Nunez’s intentions, Andersen confronted the striker by shoving him in the back. This caused the situation to escalate, resulting in a reckless headbutt from the former Benfica man.
To make matters worse, Nunez wasted time arguing with the referee and required his teammates to compel him to leave the field.
Performed: Luis Diaz
While Nunez embarrassed himself in his first-ever Premier League appearance at Anfield, another former Primeira Liga star covered himself in glory with a brilliant solo goal in the 61st minute.
Diaz was Liverpool’s unchallenged best performer on Monday night and for multiple reasons. Not only did he score an excellent goal but he also made it a point to keep Palace on their toes, not allowing them even a moment’s peace.
Four minutes after Nunez’s dismissal, Diaz received a pass from Milner, cut in from the left, and dispatched an unstoppable curler from the edge of the box. Guaita had no chance of keeping that from going in.
The former Porto star also completed seven dribbles, played a key pass, won 16 (of 24) ground duels, and attempted six tackles.
A stunning display by the Colombian.