Liverpool 1 - 1 Crystal Palace
Liverpool: Diaz 61’
Crystal Palace: Zaha 32’
There’s a surprise in the starting lineup and it isn’t Darwin Núñez (although he is starting)! Nathaniel Phillips gets the nod alongside Virgil van Dijk, which is doubly surprising considering Joe Gomez is on the bench. Elsewhere Fabinho starts with James Milner and Harvey Elliott, and the rest is as expected.
It’s an “interesting” lineup, but one look at the bench shows just how perilously close we are to a full-on injury crisis. Matip is out with a muscle strain. Bobby Firmino misses out as a precaution. And the closest things we have to “attacking options” off the bench are Naby Keita and Fabio Carvalho. So. Let’s hope that our starting XI has enough to get this one over the line.
Just one minute in and Trent Alexander-Arnold plays a speculative cross into the box, and I’ll be damned if Núñez doesn’t nearly get on the end of it. The keeper just manages to punch it clear and Milner is nearly there to make change off of the rebound, but his shot is well off target.
It’s a much better start for the Reds this week than last. They have Palace absolutely pinned in their own half, and looking dangerous in attack.
With half an hour gone, the Reds are starting to get a wee bit impatient in their build up, attempting to pump balls up to Núñez, and as I type this...
Goal. Zaha punishes Liverpool with their first attack of the night. Phillips played the pacey winger onside and Alisson couldn’t stop him from slotting it on the 1 v 1.
Luis Diaz picks up a yellow card for a professional foul at midfield. Perhaps his best contribution so far.
Liverpool end the half with their biggest chance so far, and it’s no surprise that it comes from Núñez. Unfortunately he doesn’t get a clean strike off, and it hits the far post and bounces harmlessly out.
It was actually a pretty great half from Liverpool, other than the score line, a sentiment we’ve become all too familiar with lately.
Darwin starts the half where he left off: causing absolute havoc in the box. There’s a shout for a handball in the box—a decent one at that—but this ref and VAR crew aren’t going to give Liverpool anything tonight.
Red Card. Things go from bad to worse. Núñez is goaded into a reaction and is sent off for a head butt. Ooof. The head butt didn’t actually appear intentional, but Paul Tierney was all too happy to show him a red.
GOAL! Luis Diaz steps up to be counted, and scores an absolutely worldie from outside of the box. 1-1, somewhat miraculously (which is weird to say after a pretty dominant first half).
Klopp then makes a trio of changes: Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Kostas Tsimikas come on for Phillips, Milner, and Robertson.
Liverpool have actually looked...mostly decent since the sending off? There might still be a winner out there.
With about ten minutes to go, Klopp makes another change, bringing off Harvey Elliott—who has absolutely come to play and given it everything tonight—for Fabio Carvalho.
It’s a funny game. Liverpool dominated the first half but went in down a goal. Then went down a man, equalized, and looked more likely to find a winner. The Núñez red card (and upcoming 3-match suspension) hurts and will continue to hurt. However, if the Reds can keep playing like tonight—and for Fowler’s sake, stop fucking conceding first—we’ll be fine this season.