Liverpool 1-1 Crystal Palace
Premier League (2), Anfield
August 15, 2022
Goals: Diaz 61′; Zaha 32′
Sent off: Nunez 57′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6
Alisson was a spectator for much of the night, but was powerless to do anything about Wilfried Zaha’s well-taken opener.
The Brazilian did bail his team out soon after, however, thwarting the winger in what was a big one-on-one opportunity.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Alexander-Arnold was one of many to have a poor day against Fulham, but he was much better on Monday evening.
Some of the 23-year-old’s passing was world class, with one sublime dinked ball not headed home like it should have been by Mohamed Salah.
Played in midfield for large chunks of proceedings. Certainly attempted to get the Reds back into the game.
Nat Phillips – 4
Phillips earned a shock start at Anfield, with Joe Gomez left on the substitutes’ bench, and he endured a torrid night.
The centre-back was caught out badly for Zaha’s goal and seemed to lose confidence from then on, losing the ball cheaply a number of times. Didn’t look connected to Van Dijk and easy to see why Palace targetted in behind him.
Virgil van Dijk – 6
Van Dijk was poor last weekend, and while better this time around, he doesn’t look at his absolute best so far this season.
The Dutchman clearly wasn’t helped by Phillips, but he arguably didn’t do enough to shut down Zaha for the opener, proving to be a little placid.
Better in the latter stages when Joe Gomez was introduced.
Andy Robertson – 6
The Scot was far less effective than Alexander-Arnold, with the Reds’ left-hand side curiously quiet for long periods.
Did little wrong in a defensive sense, but not his barnstorming self often enough.
Booked after a typically feisty tussle with Jordan Ayew.
Fabinho – 5
What has happened to Liverpool’s brilliant lighthouse?
Fabinho looked leggy towards the end of last season and that has continued into the new campaign, with a real sluggishness on show.
He was as culpable as Phillips for the opener, getting beaten too easily, and is a far cry from the player who has dominated midfield battles for so long.
Not all bad – he kept things ticking over on the ball – but a long way from his best.
Harvey Elliott – 7 (Man of the Match)
Elliott was handed a deserved start and he was Liverpool’s best player at Anfield.
He was always positive on the ball, looking to produce guile and creating one great opportunity for Nunez, while he was unlucky not to open the scoring in the first half.
Keep starting him – he’s a gem.
James Milner – 5
Milner was good when he came on at Fulham and was rewarded with a start, as he keeps going strong at the age of 36.
It was a patchy showing from the veteran, however, who fired over in the minute and was guilty of not providing a creative spark.
Plenty of endeavour, but not enough quality.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Salah got off the mark nice and early last weekend, but he was frustrated for much of the game against a stubborn Palace team.
The Egyptian guided one shot wide and then missed a good chance from Alexander-Arnold’s aforementioned pass, and became wasteful in possession as the minutes ticked by.
Was marked brilliantly, in fairness.
Luis Diaz – 7
Diaz started in his customary left wing role, but as has become a slight gripe recently, there was enough end product from him.
He looked lively both on and off the ball and drew Liverpool level with a stunning individual effort after the red card.
More end product has been needed and he answered his critics in style, even if his all-around game was a little sloppy at times.
Darwin Nunez – 1
How’s that for a nightmare home debut? Joe Cole would be proud.
Liverpool’s new centre-forward was given his first league start, but he won’t want to remember this in a hurry.
The Uruguayan missed three glorious chances that he should have buried and was then sent off for a braindead headbutt on Joachim Andersen. Five shots, none on target. 66% pass completion.
Unacceptable from him – that’s him out for three games now. He needs to learn the Liverpool way. Next available game is the Merseyside derby: don’t expect him to start it.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 63′) – 5
Awful crossing, disappointing cameo.
Jordan Henderson (on for Milner, 63′) – 6
Added some zip to the midfield, but unspectacular.
Joe Gomez (on for Phillips, 63′) – 6
Looked more assured than Phillips.
Fabio Carvalho 79′ (on for Elliott, 79′) – 6
Volleyed wide late on, tried to make things happen. Booked.
Subs not used: Adrian, Van den Berg, Bajcetic, Keita, Clark
Jurgen Klopp – 5
Klopp’s hands were tied with the majority of his selection decisions, including Phillips starting over a half-fit Gomez at the back, but he will have been hopeful of a fast start regardless.
Liverpool were curiously wasteful with their final ball for too much of the evening and the all-around performance was lacking the usual magic, despite a spirited showing after the red card.
It might only be two games in, but what does this mean for the Reds’ Premier League title hopes? Too many draws have cost us before and that’s two already.