Liverpool winners, losers and ratings as Nunez sees red and Diaz rescues Klopp's side

Darwin Nunez James Milner Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

Darwin Nunez was sent off on his first Premier League start as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace at Anfield.

The Uruguayan was shown a straight red card after shoving his head into Joachim Andersen, the Palace defender, following a clash 12 minutes into the second half.

Liverpool trailed 1-0 at the time, Wilfried Zaha having given the visitors the lead with a clinical finish from Eberechi Eze’s superb pass after 32 minutes.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side rallied with 10 men and levelled when Luis Diaz cut inside to lash an unstoppable 25-yard strike home in front of the Kop.

Liverpool pushed for a winner, but it was Palace who came closest when Zaha hit the post sliding in to meet Odsonne Edouard’s cross. 

The result means Klopp’s men have now failed to win their first two games of the campaign for the first time since 2012-13, and they head to Old Trafford next to face Manchester United.

  • Luis Diaz Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

    The Winners

    Luis Diaz

    Talk about stepping up in the hour of need. Liverpool were in danger of collapsing completely, 1-0 down and reduced to 10 men after Nunez’s moment of madness. How would they respond?

    The answer was provided by Diaz, who collected the ball on the left and danced his way between three Palace defenders, then cut inside another before smashing a quite brilliant 25-yard strike past Vicente Guaita.

    It was a moment of pure brilliance from the Colombian, and it ignited the crowd, who had been stunned by Nunez’s dismissal and their side’s low-key start to the second half. Diaz is a winner, and his attitude makes him an ideal player for this Liverpool side. 

    They needed all of his spirit and belief here. 

    Eberechi Eze

    The best player on the field was wearing white. Eze put in an outstanding display as Palace left with a point and nearly headed home with three.

    His slide-rule pass created the Eagles' goal for Zaha, and his ability to evade challenges allowed him to glide through midfield and threaten Liverpool's backline throughout.

    Having seen last season ruined by injury, this is a big campaign for the 24-year-old, and he looks ready to seize his opportunity.

    Liverpool’s medical department

    Well, at least they’ll be getting paid plenty of overtime at the moment. We can add Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino to a lengthening absentee list, and Joe Gomez wasn’t deemed fit enough to start the game either.

    A boost is badly needed, whether from Matip or Firmino, Diogo Jota or Ibrahima Konate or Thiago Alcantara. 

    At least they have a full week before their next game, against Manchester United.

  • Darwin Nunez red Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

    The Losers

    Darwin Nunez

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What was the Uruguayan thinking?

    With Liverpool 1-0 down, Anfield edgy and cool heads needed, Nunez did exactly what his side didn’t need him to do. He reacted to a bit of provocation from Joachim Andersen and left the Palace defender in a heap.

    Paul Tierney had no hesitation in showing the red card, and Nunez had to be escorted from the field by James Milner. 

    It cost his side here, and it will cost them in the coming weeks. There will be no Nunez at Old Trafford next week, nor against Bournemouth or Newcastle after that. With resources already stretched, Klopp could well have done without a moment of sheer stupidity from his new big-money centre-forward.

    Hopes for a title race

    Two games in, four points dropped. It feels almost absurd to say, but that looks a long way back, given the standards set at the top of the Premier League in recent years. More worrying, however, is the fact that Liverpool don’t look anything like the team we’ve become so used to seeing, and the fact their injury list is longer than any other side in the league. Without the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate, they are a far weaker proposition - and Manchester City will be delighted by what they’ve seen so far. 

    Joe Gomez

    How’s your luck? Having waited so long for an opportunity to play centre-back in the Premier League, Gomez’s chance looked to have arrived when both Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip were struck down with ill-timed injuries. 

    But a training-ground knock meant Gomez was deemed fit enough only for the bench, and Nat Phillips got the nod instead. 

    Costly for the England international, and for Liverpool too perhaps. A fit Gomez would certainly have been more useful against Palace’s counter-attacking threat, as he showed after replacing Phillips in the second half here.

  • Nat Phillips Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (6/10):

    Well beaten by Zaha for the goal, but denied the same player soon after. Solid after the break.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (6/10):

    Crisp and incisive with his passing, and carried the fight to Palace with his side down to 10 men, albeit without success.

    Andy Robertson (5/10):

    Unable to make his usual impact and was replaced early by Tsimikas.

    Nat Phillips (5/10):

    Making his first Premier League start since May 2021, he was confident and front-footed but undone by a perfectly-timed Eze pass and Zaha run for Palace’s opener. His passing was a bit too predictable. 

    Virgil van Dijk (6/10):

    Caught a little square for the Palace goal, and mis-kicked a good chance right before half time. Some lovely passes but always kept busy by Zaha.

  • Harvey Elliott Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

    Midfield

    Fabinho (6/10):

    Was caught out by Eze’s trickery for Palace’s opener and struggled to lock down the midfield. Played some swift forward passes but has had better games than this.

    James Milner (6/10):

    Missed a good early chance but faded after a bright start.

    Harvey Elliott (7/10):

    Bright, fearless and competitive, he was among Liverpool's better players.

  • Luis Diaz Fabinho Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

    Attack

    Mohamed Salah (6/10):

    Never stopped trying, and had some good moments, but couldn't do what he so often does and win the points for his side.

    Luis Diaz (8/10):

    Magnificent goal to rescue a point, and his endeavour and belief got Anfield going. Liverpool need that kind of spirit, not what was shown by their other South American forward.

    Darwin Nunez (3/10):

    Let his side down badly with a moment of immaturity and recklessness to earn a red card. Will learn from his mistake, for sure, but it was very costly here.

  • Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty Images

    Subs & Manager

    Jordan Henderson (7/10):

    Played with responsibility and drive after coming on at 1-1. Made a difference.

    Kostas Tsimikas (5/10):

    Delivery not up to its usual standard, which cost his side when they chased the win.

    Joe Gomez (6/10):

    Showed good composure and kept the lively Palace counter-attackers in check. Could he have started?

    Fabio Carvalho (6/10):

    On late for Elliott and almost found the net with a late volley.

    Jurgen Klopp (5/10):

    Injuries hamstrung him a bit, but could he have risked Gomez from the start? Subs added energy, but he looked angry by what he saw, not least when a pitch invader attempted to accost him late in the game.