Last week’s season opener was a rather unpleasant surprise, both in terms of performance and result. Indeed, after one of the worst first-half performances of the Jurgen Klopp era, the draw felt much more like a point won than two points dropped.
Unsurprisingly, no one is more critical of last week’s performance than the players themselves, especially Vice Captain James Milner.
“We know the level that is expected of us and the level we want to produce,” Milner told the club’s official website.
“Nobody is bigger critics than the boys in the dressing room. It’s disappointing but it’s one that hopefully we can bounce back from in a strong way on Monday.”
Despite the disappointment, there were a few positives to take away from Craven Cottage, which Milner was quick to highlight.
“I think it’s important that you saw the fight there. It was definitely there. Obviously going behind and coming back, we probably did have the odd chance there where we could go and win it and you think we’ve absolutely robbed a win - it could’ve been one of those days.
“That’s pleasing that we were fighting until the end even though things weren’t going our way and we weren’t playing well. We kept pushing and Harvey coming off the bench and Darwin making a big impact - that’s important.”
It’s hard to overstate the impact that the second half subs made, especially that of Darwin Núñez. According to Understat, the Uruguayan striker created an eye-watering 2.16 combined expected goals and expected assists. Quite the debut.
Crystal Palace will be a tough test, but it is within the safe confines of Anfield, and the Reds have historically performed well under Klopp after a set-back. The worst part is having to wait until Monday night to see them play again.