It was the last game of the second week of the brand-new English Premier League match day two for both Liverpool and Crystal Palace on Monday as the visiting Palace held 10-man Liverpool to a draw at Anfield.
Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp left his expensive summer signing Darwin Nunez to sleep on the moment of wild indiscipline that saw him make an early and undignified exit from his home debut in the Premier League. Recall that Nunez, signed from Benfica in a deal worth an initial £64m, will have a restless night before facing Klopp after making the worst possible introduction at Anfield.
The Uruguayan has made a fine early impression with goals in the Community Shield win against Manchester City and the opening league draw at Fulham, but this incident, which saw him sent off demonstrated a side of his character that will alert the more mischievous Premier League defenders and ensure Klopp must deliver some home truths ahead of his forthcoming three-match ban.
If there is one thing Nunez can take from his embarrassment, it is that it is better to learn your lessons early in the Premier League, and the 23-year-old certainly suffered a harsh one here. Yes, there was what may be politely termed ‘argy-bargy’ with Palace defender Joachim Andersen, but Nunez’s response was mindless – a headbutt that sent his opponent to the floor and referee Paul Tierney reaching for his red card with no hesitation.
It rules Nunez out of Liverpool’s trip to Manchester United next Monday for starters, even more costly as Klopp needs all hands-on deck as he juggles injury problems. He will also miss home games against Bournemouth and Newcastle United.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports that, “He (Nunez) knows what he has done, and he will be absolutely devastated. He has let himself and the team down. If he had been on the pitch, I am sure Liverpool would have won the game. It is not just tonight; we might not see him back in full flow for five weeks now.”
With this hard-earned draw, Crystal Palace avoided defeat at Anfield in the Premier League for the first time since April 2017 (won 2-1), ending a five-match losing run against the Reds on Merseyside.
After having to twice come from behind to claim a 2-2 draw at Fulham on the opening day, Liverpool have failed to win either of their first two games in a Premier League season for the fifth time and first time since 2012-13. The last time the Reds went onto lift the top-flight title having failed to win their first two games in a season was in 1981-82.