Luis Diaz wins a point, Juergen Klopp ‘proud’
Liverpool forward Luis Diaz scored a splendid solo goal to cancel out Wilfried Zaha’s opener for Crystal Palace as the teams drew 1-1 in the Premier League at Anfield on Monday, with Reds striker Darwin Nunez sent off on his home debut. Liverpool dominated the opening half but it was Zaha who broke the deadlock, stunning the home crowd with a brilliant finish to a counter-attack in the 32nd minute.
It marked the sixth league game in a row in which Liverpool had conceded the first goal, although they had over 75 per cent possession in the first half and 17 attempts on goal, with only three on target. Nunez could have put Liverpool level just before the break, but his scuffed effort came back off the far post and Virgil van Dijk failed to connect properly with the rebound. However, the Uruguay international, who recently arrived from Portuguese side Benfica, was shown a straight red card in the 57th minute for an apparent head-butt on Joachim Andersen, and he will now face a three-match suspension, including Monday’s trip to Manchester United.
The send-off inspired Luis Diaz to grab the game by the scruff on the neck in the 61st minute as the Colombian cut in from the left, beat several players and curled the ball beyond the despairing dive of Vicente Guaita to put the hosts level.
Zaha had a golden chance to put Palace back in front after 78 minutes, ghosting behind the defence but volleying a low cross from Cheick Oumar Doucoure off the outside of the far post. Liverpool also went close to taking the lead on a number of occasions but Palace held firm to claim their first point of the new campaign, with the home side now having drawn twice in their opening two games. Manager Juergen Klopp said he is proud of Liverpool for fighting back despite being reduced to 10 men. “I told the boys after the game I’m proud,” Klopp told reporters.
“I thought the start (of the second half) was positive again and then the red card happened. But obviously the best possible reaction from (Diaz) then — worldie, wonderful goal. “And from that moment on it was a special game,” he said, adding that he was pleased with how much pressure they put Palace under with 10 men.
Nunez was shown a red card for his reaction to a shove from Palace defender Andersen, and Klopp said the Uruguayan international needed to learn from his mistake. “A little provocation here and there — and definitely the wrong reaction. A clear red card, I cannot deny that. He will learn from that,” Klopp said.
“Unfortunately, he has now a few games’ time to do so. “Andersen wanted that, I would say, and he got it. But he made a mistake, Darwin, so of course we will talk about it.” “Obviously we always want to win our games and especially at home,” Liverpool midfielder James Milner told Sky Sports. “I thought we started pretty well and then we lost our way a bit in the middle. They’re always going to cause you problems on the break, which we could have defended better.”