Liverpool held by Palace despite Diaz stunner as Nunez is sent off for headbutt

Darwin Nunez had a ‘moment of madness’ as he was sent off during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace.

The Uruguayan forward was shown a straight red card for a crazy headbutt on Eagles defender Joachim Andersen after a bit of handbags between the pair.

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Nunez was sent off for this headbutt on Andersen

If anything, the Nunez red made Liverpool play better

AFP

If anything, the Nunez red made Liverpool play better

It was a major setback for Liverpool, who were 1-0 down at the time with Wilfried Zaha netting in the first half.

But an outstanding solo effort from Luis Diaz levelled the scores, the Colombian curling past Vicent Guaita after jinking past a number of Palace players.

Jurgen Klopp’s men wasted a number of chances at Anfield, many of them falling to Nunez, who lost his cool in the 57th minute.

On Nunez’s red card, Murphy said on commentary for talkSPORT: “”Lost his head it’s a moment of madness.

“It’s a shame for him because he’s shown some great attributes and had some great chances.”

Liverpool threw the kitchen sink at their opponents but couldn’t find the winner, although Mohamed Salah and Fabio Carvalho came mightily close to scoring late on.

Zaha could have nicked the three points for the visitors but he struck the post from six yards out.

Zaha gave the Eagles a shock lead at Anfield

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Zaha gave the Eagles a shock lead at Anfield

Diaz’s moment of brilliance levelled the scores but Liverpool couldn’t find the winner

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Diaz’s moment of brilliance levelled the scores but Liverpool couldn’t find the winner


Klopp’s side already trail leaders Manchester City by four points and with the margin for error in the title race so tight, they cannot afford many more nights like this.

Nunez’s arrival from Benfica for a potential club-record £85million fee was supposed to be the antidote for games like this, when teams sit deep, pack the area around their 18-yard box and look to hit on the break.

But the Uruguayan, admittedly still getting used to his new team-mates after just two competitive outings, fluffed his lines in only the ninth minute when he ballooned over at the far post after Harvey Elliott, taking the place of the injured Thiago Alcantara, danced through the defence only to see his shot blocked by Andersen.

Another missed Nunez chance book-ended the first half as he mis-hit a shot from roughly the same position and watched it bounce off the far post.

It was a frustrating night all round for Nunez

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It was a frustrating night all round for Nunez

But he was not alone in squandering chances with James Milner blazing over after just 61 seconds and Mohamed Salah stabbing wide a low Trent Alexander-Arnold cross and also heading tamely into Guaita’s arms.

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With Liverpool’s shot count building up – 17 alone in the first half – and their dominance of the ball established, they fell victim to a classic counter by their opponents, who had ‘enjoyed’ just 25 percent possession.

Guaita’s hurried clearance from another attack found Eberechi Eze, who side-stepped Fabinho and played in Zaha who had the pace to stay out of the reach of the back-tracking Virgil Van Dijk and place a shot across Alisson Becker and inside the far post.

It was the eighth time in the last 10 matches they had conceded first.

Palace’s goal was against the run of play

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Palace’s goal was against the run of play

The Liverpool goalkeeper was out quickly to deny Zaha after he again broke the defensive line and, while the hosts finished the half strongly with an Elliott header batted away and Nunez striking the woodwork, they left themselves plenty to do.

Palace captain Joel Ward, returning to the side to anchor a resolute five-man defence, denied Nunez with body and arm, which was not deemed to be in an unnatural position as he slid in.

But the game ignited in the 57th minute when Nunez was dismissed after flooring Andersen, who pointed an accusing finger at his opponent before shoving the striker in the back – promoting a rush of blood from the South American.

Klopp furiously waved for him to get off the pitch as he and assistant Pep Lijnders quickly reorganised with Salah playing through the middle on his own.

And within four minutes they were level thanks to Diaz, who cut in from the left and breezed past five Palace players before curling a right-footed shot past Guaita.

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An amazing effort from Diaz but more dropped points for Liverpool

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An amazing effort from Diaz but more dropped points for Liverpool

The hosts continued to attack with 10 as they had done for almost an hour with 11 and it left them susceptible to gaps at the back with Alexander-Arnold essentially playing as a winger.

Zaha hit a post and Salah and substitute Fabio Carvalho flashed shots wide late on and, although Liverpool extended their unbeaten home run to 21 league matches – 78 in front of an Anfield full house crowd factoring out their lockdown woes – it was two more points dropped.

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