Liverpool vs Crystal Palace recap: The Reds suffered another setback to start the 2022-23 Premier League season, as they battled back to draw the Eagles 1-1 at Anfield on Monday.
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Crystal Palace took the lead through their first shot on the game, from Wilfried Zaha in the 32nd minute, and the Reds’ woes were compounded when star summer signing Darwin Nuñez was shown a straight red card for violent conduct toward Joachim Andersen in the 57th.
Four minutes later, Luis Diaz fired a laser from outside the penalty area, past the otherwise stellar Vicente Guaita and just inside the far post. Down a man, though, Liverpool were unable to complete the comeback and dropped points for the second time in as many games early in the season.
What we learned from Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Liverpool’s title credentials in question already
Even putting the results aside, it’s Liverpool’s performances against Fulham and Crystal Palace were simply nowhere near the level of what Manchester City have displayed through their first 180 minutes. They fell behind the newly promoted Cottagers twice last week, and again on Monday they found themselves behind after conceding the game’s first goal for a sixth straight Premier League fixture (dating back to last season). Injuries are mounting up now as well, with Nuñez likely to be suspended for three games, at the same time Diogo Jota, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Roberto Firmino and Curtis Jones, among other fringe players, currently unavailable. Man City led Liverpool by double-digit points almost midway through last season before taking the title race down to the final minute of the season, but it would be unwise to count on the two-time defending champions to slip up in such fashion again. The gap is four already.
Be patient, defend, defend, defend and counter
Sometimes, that’s all you have to do. Not that it’s really that simple or straightforward, of course, unless Patrick Vieira is your manager, at which point it is now expected of Crystal Palace. The Eagles hardly had a sniff of the ball, let alone the opposition penalty area, in the opening half hour, and yet they were as sharp and quick as could be when Eberechi Eze had his one opportunity to send Zaha in on goal. At the time of Zaha’s opener, Liverpool had attempted 133 passes inside the opposition half; Crystal Palace had tried just 17. It should be said that for as much as Liverpool were in control of the ball, Crystal Palace were quite comfortable in control of where the Reds were allowed to possess it. Possession can be important, but a team’s ability to control the game (with or without the ball) is a clear-as-day sign of a resilient, well-coached team, which is exactly what Crystal Palace are under Vieira.
Injuries to Thiago becoming increasingly problematic for Liverpool
It’s been quite clear for quite some time that Thiago is an important, perhaps irreplaceable player for this Liverpool side — one that’s full of energy and life and legs to out-work all comers, but otherwise short on the sting-pulling genius that the Spanish international has provided since arriving at Anfield. Without Thiago in the side, though, as he is currently out injured after damaging his hamstring on opening day, the possession is plentiful but rarely do the Reds unlock opponents defending them both narrow and deep. Without Thiago in the side, Liverpool can be tempted into loads of crosses which are far easier to resist than quick passing sequences and constant, fluid motion. Luis Diaz managed to save the day, but how often can you sit around and wait for strikes like this?
How to watch Liverpool vs Crystal Palace live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3 pm ET, Monday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Liverpool doesn’t drop points too often but Palace took points from 26 of 38 matches last season. The Eagles have become a solid Premier League unit once again and manager Patrick Vieira feels emboldened to take them to a new level.
Palace, however, has to figure out a way to pull the strings without Conor Gallagher, a star of last season who is still with parent club Chelsea. The Eagles often look to Wilfried Zaha but need the next steps in the development of Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze if they want to bring the offensive flair to go with good defense.
Liverpool will be leaning on Virgil van Dijk at the back as the Reds deal with some early injuries to defense and midfield. Will this be the week that Darwin Nunez steps into the center forward spot as Option No. 1 and never looks back?
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ibrahima Konate, Caiominh Kelleher. QUESTIONABLE: Joel Matip, Diogo Jota, Kostas Tsimikas.
Our line-up to face @CPFC tonight at Anfield 👊
Firmino (precaution) and Matip (muscle strain) miss out. #LIVCRY
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 15, 2022
Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Jack Butland, James McArthur, Nathan Ferguson, James Tomkins. QUESTIONABLE: Michael Olise
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) August 15, 2022