4 things we learnt from Liverpool 1-1 Crystal Palace
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15: (THE SUN OUT,THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT ) Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace at Anfield on August 15, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

On Monday evening, Liverpool struggled against an impressive Crystal Palace side, ending in a 1-1 draw. It was a vital point for the South London side, whilst Liverpool sit just twelfth after two games.

Liverpool started strongly, but the Eagles were happy to sit back and soak up any pressure. However, Palace were incredibly effective on the counter-attack, which saw Wilfried Zaha give the visitors a shock 1-0 lead.

The match went from bad to worse for the home supporters as Darwin Nunez earnt a red card for violent conduct. Later on, Luis Diaz saved a point for the Reds with a stunning individual goal. The Colombian was the best player on the pitch, showing the reliance Jurgen Klopp has on the winger. 

A thrilling match between two energetic sides, so here are the takeaways from a lively match at Anfield.

Fragile Liverpool struggle with injuries

The lineup for Liverpool sprung a few surprises for fans. It placed Nat Phillips alongside Virgil Van Dijk at the back, with James Milner and Harvey Elliot sat in midfield.

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This was due to a minor injury crisis taking place in Merseyside. Thiago suffered a hamstring injury last week. Meanwhile, Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip were both unavailable due to a knee problem sustained in pre-season and a groin strain retrospectively. 

This meant that Jurgen Klopp was forced to use his weaker squad players. Milner, who turned 36 earlier this year, struggled to gain a grip of the game and lacked the creative touch.

In comparison, Harvey Elliot made some bright runs, but, as expected, was unable to create chances all by himself. This is the difference between the unorthodox duo of Elliot and Milner compared to Thiago. The Spaniard effortlessly controls the game for the Reds, drastically improving the side.

Diaz beginning to take the limelight

After a rash moment from Nunez saw Liverpool reduced to ten men, many thought any chance of a home goal had disappeared. Crystal Palace's defensive shape remained firm all game, so it was going to take a moment of magic to send the home fans into raptures.

Up stepped Luis Diaz in the 61st minute. He glided past a handful of opposition defenders, before firing a ferocious shot into the bottom corner. A magnificent individual goal that highlighted how impressive the former Porto player had been all game. 

This match showed how Diaz is beginning to take centre stage at Anfield. Mohamed Salah struggled all game, completing just one dribble out of six (Fotmob). In comparison, Luis Diaz completed seven out of ten dribbles (Fotmob), proving his superior performance. 

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After the sale of Sadio Mane, Klopp will be more reliant on his January signing. Against Crystal Palace, he showed how he can change a game within a matter of seconds with his dazzling skill. Despite the night ending in disappointment, Liverpool fans will be pleased to see the 25-year-old shine so brightly.

Defensive Solidarity

It was highly expected that Crystal Palace would be easily swept aside by the Reds under the lights. But, all game, they held firm and denied a star-studded home side.

The South London defence made 25 clearances throughout the match (Fotmob), preventing the Liverpool attack from succeeding.

Sitting back allowed Jurgen Klopp's side to take 24 shots, but with only four hitting the target (Fotmob), it shows how Patrick Vieira's tactics allowed the London side to hold firm. 

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Although the defensive shape was not pleasing to the eye, it was highly effective against a dangerous and chaotic Liverpool attack.

After a shaky defensive performance against Arsenal last week, confidence will be growing within the Palace camp following a much improved defensive structure.

Lacking a consistent final touch

Wilfried Zaha's first-half strike was impeccably taken. He timed his run perfectly, before neatly slotting the ball away into the bottom corner. It was their first big chance of the game, completely against the run of play.

However, after Nunez's crazy red card, it left the home side open at the back. This allowed Patrick Vieira's side to capitalise on a weakened backline, but they lacked the final touch to take advantage.

Throughout the match, the Eagles missed 3 big chances (Fotmob). Former Manchester United player, Zaha, missed 2 of these chances. Most notably, the Ivorian found himself unmarked at the back post, but could only hit the post. 

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On another day, the 29-year-old could have had a hattrick, so he might be kicking himself after only scoring once. 

The first Monday night match of the season lived up to the hype, but both teams might be frustrated they only earnt a point. Liverpool's plan went out of the window once their record signing was sent off, whilst Crystal Palace could have easily scored more. An entertaining night for the neutral, with plenty to analyse. 

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