Liverpool welcomed Crystal Palace to Anfield for the first home match of the 2022/23 Premier League season.
A night full of promise, excitement and expectation turned sour as Liverpool played out a frustrating 1-1 draw with Palace. Another rather unsatisfactory point to start Liverpool’s campaign.
The headlines before the match were centered around Darwin Nunez making his first Liverpool and Premier League start. Nat Phillips also grabbed some of the headlines as he was surprisingly named in the starting XI alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Liverpool were the better side from the opening whistle and could’ve jumped in front in the opening minutes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was extremely active and started the match with a few dangerous crosses into the Palace box. Nunez and Harvey Elliott were on the receiving end of those crosses but were unable to produce a solid end product.
Liverpool was dominant in possession and sound defensively in the opening 30 minutes. Nearly every LFC attack in the first half came through the right side via TAA and Mohamed Salah.
Despite Liverpool’s bright start to the match, Palace were the ones to open the scoring. In the 32nd minute, Eberechi Eze skipped past a poor tackle in the midfield from Fabinho to spring a Palace counterattack. Wilfried Zaha ran in between Phillips and van Dijk, and Eze played him in on goal, where Zaha coolly slotted the ball past Alisson and into the net.
Completely against the run of play, Liverpool found themselves trailing in yet another Premier League match. The Reds have conceded the opening goal in their last six Premier League matches.
Liverpool regained their composure and continued to pressure the Palace backline. Elliott had a nice header from a Salah cross that was saved out for a corner, and just before the half Nunez had a great chance to open his Anfield account. Elliott floated a perfect ball into the back post where it looked like Nunez was running free but pressure from a Palace defender was enough to put him off just a bit and his scuffed shot hit the far post and was cleared out.
Liverpool went into halftime down 1-0 but enjoyed 75% possession and had a number of scoring chances.
The second half was more of the same. Liverpool came out of the break looking to equalize right away — in the 48th minute, Salah slipped Nunez in, but the Uruguayan scuffed his shot into the sliding Palace defender.
The atmosphere in Anfield was growing tense as the Reds continued to search for the equalizer.
Things reached a boiling point in the 57th minute when Nunez headbutted Palace defender Joachim Andersen and was shown a straight red card. The two had been jostling in the box, and Andersen gave Nunez a shove in the back which resulted in the lapse of judgment from Liverpool’s front man.
Shortly after going down to 10 men, Liverpool found the equalizing goal. Luis Diaz scored a ridiculous solo effort where he dribbled past five Palace defenders and then curled the ball past a diving Palace keeper to make it 1-1. Truly a remarkable display of skill.
Anfield and the Liverpool players were filled with energy as they hunted for the winner.
Zaha and Palace had a great chance to put Palace back in front in the 78th minute but his shot smacked the outside of Alisson’s post.
Despite an onslaught of pressure and a few quality chances from Salah and Fabio Carvalho in the final minutes, Liverpool never found the winner and were forced to settle for the draw.
At the end of matchweek two, Liverpool sit twelfth in the table on two points. This result sees Liverpool’s streak of nine straight wins in Premier League home openers snapped. The Reds head to Old Trafford next to take on Manchester United on Aug. 22.
Alisson Becker — 7
Didn’t have a whole lot to do. Made a nice save on Zaha. No chance with Palace’s opener.
Trent Alexander-Arnold — 8
Played in a number of quality crosses that could’ve been finished. Was essential in starting the LFC attack throughout the match.
Nat Phillips — 6
Started off strong but was eventually preyed on by Zaha. Subbed off for Gomez.
Virgil van Dijk — 7
Defended well throughout the match. Handled Zaha well enough. Solid distribution.
Andy Robertson — 6
Took a little to get into the match. Still working on the partnership with Diaz. Subbed off for Tsimikas.