Darwin Nunez sent off for crazy headbutt as Liverpool slip up against Crystal Palace

·32 min read
Darwin Nunez sent-off for crazy headbutt as 10-man Liverpool slip up against Crystal Palace - REUTERS
Darwin Nunez sent-off for crazy headbutt as 10-man Liverpool slip up against Crystal Palace - REUTERS

These are early days to talk of the rise and fall of title challenges but at the mid-point of August, Liverpool are already four points behind their great rivals of the era, Manchester City, and contemplating the good and the bad that comes with another fiery Uruguayan leading their attack.

Darwin Nunez was sent off on his home debut in this engrossing game of attack and counter that saw Jurgen Klopp’s ten men eventually force their way back into the reckoning from a goal behind. They had all the territory and most of the possession – and in Luis Diaz a man whose equaliser reflected just how personally he takes these games. Yet this has been a stumbling start to the season, the worst since 2012, and already they are in pursuit of one of the most formidable defending champions of all time.

The stumble has been compounded by injuries: this game was started by Liverpool’s fifth-choice centre-back Nat Phillips. Jordan Henderson also began the evening on the bench nursing a minor problem and Klopp will hope that both his captain and Joe Gomez – another who started the evening as a substitute as a precaution – will be fit for Sunday’s visit to Old Trafford. He also lost Joel Matip and Bobby Firmino to injuries in the preparation. It was, the Liverpool manager said, “a crazy week, like we had a witch in the building.”

Liverpool only have two more points than the great crisis club of the era whom they face next and there will be no Nunez available for the Manchester United game – the first player of the Klopp era to be dismissed for violent conduct. Nunez attracted not even a glance of sympathy from the Liverpool manager as he walked off, dismissed by referee Paul Tierney for thrusting his head into the face of Joachim Andersen before the hour.

Nunez puts the head on his opponent - Sky Sports Premier League screengrab
Nunez puts the head on his opponent - Sky Sports Premier League screengrab
Crystal Palace's Joachim Andersen is on the floor after being headbutted by Darwin Nunez, who was sent off by referee Paul Tierney - Reuters
Crystal Palace's Joachim Andersen is on the floor after being headbutted by Darwin Nunez, who was sent off by referee Paul Tierney - Reuters

The inheritor to Luis Suarez’s Uruguayan legacy might just have gone in a little harder than he anticipated after an earlier spell of eyeballing and thrusting his head backwards into the Palace defender. This was the first red card for a Liverpool home debutant since Joe Cole began an unfortunate spell on Merseyside in August 2010.

For Palace, this was another well-chosen tactical plan from Patrick Vieira whose talented young team were comfortable playing with less than 30 per cent possession and sitting low. Their first half goal was scored against the odds by Wilfried Zaha on a marvellous counter-attack that split Liverpool. They defended with five at the back and another four stacked in midfield. Palace gave away chances – a full 24 attempts on goal on target and off, and yet they never looked panicked in their defending.

Vieira was thrilled afterwards at what he saw as the sophistication of his team, staying calm under the onslaught. “It’s not easy at all with the atmosphere and we managed the situations really well,” he said. “We needed to be calm and concentrate on what we wanted to do.” He was effusive about the efforts of his forward players – Jordan Ayew as well as Eberechi Eze and Zaha - to run in behind, and stretch Liverpool. “They didn’t show frustration,” he said, with surely one man in particular in mind.

The pressure of City’s customary onslaught on the league season is obvious for this Liverpool team. The defending champions are the side against which all else are measured and the points totals they rack up can break their challengers. “Draws feel like defeats” reflected the former Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher from the Sky Sports studio and indeed it must seem like that in the face of City’s remorseless six-goal opening to the season over the first two games.

Phillips barely put a foot wrong until his second half substitution but then only one small mistake can leave the door ajar. It was a brilliant 32nd minute thrust by Palace in behind the great attacking machine of Liverpool’s front eight - thrumming away at the away side and then suddenly turned inside out. On this occasion two passes was all it took: a clearance from goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, and then Eze’s throughball to set Zaha on goal. Eze span away from Fabinho. Zaha ran off Phillips.

Phillips played most of last season on loan in the Championship at Bournemouth. Indeed, his last Premier League start was in May 2021 against the same opposition and if it had not been for the many previously fit bodies dropping over the last three weeks he may well have left Liverpool by now. From the centre-halves alone, Ibrahima Konate, Matip and Gomez were absent from the first XI and the full injury list is considerably longer. Zaha’s finish was thrilling in its confidence - speared past Alisson in front of the Kop.

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace scores  - Getty
Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace scores - Getty

At the other end Liverpool were magnificent at times and Nunez struck the post with the very last attack of the first half. A fine first half performance from Harvey Elliott with an effortlessly velvet touch and then a nonchalance about trying all the difficult things. Trent Alexander-Arnold would appear suddenly from nowhere in the centre of midfield to loft a pass to Mohamed Salah.

Klopp said he felt the equaliser was inevitable until the red card. There had not been a sending off at Anfield for one of his players since Alisson in November 2019. “There was provocation and the wrong reaction,” Klopp said of Nunez (watch video below). “He can’t do that. He will learn from that.”

The Liverpool manager reorganised swiftly with Henderson, Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas all on. Fabio Carvalho would later make his home debut.

The equaliser was a brilliant incursion from the left from Diaz, probing and feinting. He moved across the face of the Palace area until the moment when he had enough space to release a shot, right-footed, past the goalkeeper Guaita and inside his left post. It electrified a pensive home crowd but it was Palace who went the closest to winning.

Liverpool held by Crystal Palace, as it happened

10:54 PM

So Liverpool

drop further points. Congrats to Palace, who played well. See you for the next one. Cheers.

10:31 PM

Klopp

"Pretty good start to the game. We were unlucky in some situation. Palace had their game plan. For their first goal we should have won the ball, we had the proper protection and a two on one.

Of course it is a red card. He is provoked all the time but there is no way it is not a red card.

I am proud, everything went against us this week, it was a crazy week. Like a witch was in the building! All the time things were happening to players.

We needed more direction to get in behind their line of fine.

Darwin sending off: it makes no sense for me to talk about it too much in public. He knows it himself. He is a handful but that is not the reaction we want. I don't know how long he will be suspended but we will use that time for physical work. Not to punish him! To make him stronger.

A point is not what we wanted but we have to take it after the game tonight.

Our situation is really difficult with injuries. Two points in May is not good but in August it is fine."

10:28 PM

No sign of Herr Klopp

yet. I'm looking forward to his reactions to the red card.

10:26 PM

James Milner on sending off

“I didn’t see the incident,” said Milner. “He’s going to be disappointed with that and it’s down to us to get round him really and try to learn from it.

“But the reaction was the important thing. The team reacted very well and the ground reacted very well as it always does.

“We could have nicked a win but it wasn’t to be and we move on.

“It’s early days. When you drop points it’s disappointing, especially at Anfield. There is a long way to go and we have to make sure we rally through this tough period, the few injuries we have.

“It’s not an ideal start but it is a long, long season. We’ve not started as we would want but you could see the fight there.

“We’ve had a tough week, preparation has not been ideal, but you could see the fighting spirit there and we fought until the end.”

10:24 PM

How Diaz got Liverpool level

10:16 PM

Patrick Vieira

"We are pleased with the point. I thought we played very well. Overall we can be really pleased with ourselves. In a difficult period we stuck together really well."

"I haven't yet talked to my player about the red card incident. When things don't go your way you can get frustrated."

"We showed character today and the back five defended well. I believe we are on the right path and we are working hard."

10:15 PM

Gary Neville on why players see red

"Honestly we do things and you think, why did I do that. You're walking off and you try to convince yourself and the crowd."

10:11 PM

James Milner

"Disappointing obviously, started well, lost our way a bit in the middle. They have quality on the break and we could have defended better.

"That is the Premier League, you come up against teams who were well organised. We created chances which is the good thing but we need to take them.

The reaction going down to ten men was good and the crowd helped us too.

I didn't see (the red card) incident, he will learn from that, we will get round him.

Good teams get together when things are tough. Disappointing not to get the result.

We have had a tough week, things have gone on.

We didn't quite get the breaks but it was an incredible goal from Diaz."

10:05 PM

Headbutt foolishness

Crystal Palace's Joachim Andersen is on the floor after being headbutted by Darwin Nunez, who was sent off by referee Paul Tierney - Reuters
Crystal Palace's Joachim Andersen is on the floor after being headbutted by Darwin Nunez, who was sent off by referee Paul Tierney - Reuters

09:57 PM

Jamie Carragher

"A really bad start for Liverpool. Draws are defeats now."

09:57 PM

Full time: Liverpool 1 Crystal Palace 1

That's it. Palace have held on under some pressure. It looked in the first 30 that they were going to get battered, Liverpool had so many chances. But Palace, as they like to do, pinched one on the break via Zaha. Darwin Nunez with a moment of madness headbutt, but Diaz scored a peach to give the ten men of Liverpool a share of the points.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool reacts after a disappointing game - Getty Images Europe 
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool reacts after a disappointing game - Getty Images Europe

09:54 PM

90+ mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                       

Liverpool cannot really get enough run of play to turn the screw. The ball is hoofed out, and some fans in the crowd treat Will Hughes to some of the famous Scouse wit when he comes over to get it.

Now a Liverpool fan has got on the pitch, causing a delay. Klopp shakes his head, irritated.

09:52 PM

90+ mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                     

Choppy, bitty affair at the moment, the referee is the busiest man on the pitch at the moment. He has booked Tsimikas for dissent.

09:51 PM

90 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                     

Guaita is booked for timewasting, which means he can then safely do a bit more timewasting.

09:50 PM

89 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                   

Trent floats in a freekick, knock back from Fabinho to Carvalho... catches it sweetly! Just wide.

09:49 PM

88 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                   

Palace throwing everything at it now. Michael Olise on for Schlupp. Edouard booked for standing over the ball at a free.

09:46 PM

85 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                 

Salah! Ball is crossed in, half cleared, pinging around... it finds the Egyptian Magician on the edge of the box. Super control, and then the shot. Just wide.

09:43 PM

80 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                                 

Carvalho replaces Elliott.

Jurgen Klopp reacts towards Harvey Elliott  - Getty
Jurgen Klopp reacts towards Harvey Elliott - Getty

Edouard again with a useful delivery. Zaha's touch is that of the cement mixer on this occasion.

09:41 PM

79 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                               

Zaha looking a real threat on the break, Liverpool looking less certain in the last few minutes.

Andersen has given Diaz a little cuddle in the area. A risk.

09:40 PM

78 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                               

Chris Richards, Luka Milivojevic and Will Hughes on. Eze, Mitchell, Doucoure off.

09:39 PM

Here's the sending off

09:38 PM

75 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                             

Nooo! Palace! They should be ahead. A raking cross from the Palace right, Edouard the man who delivered the excellent ball in. Zaha, at the far post, has managed to volley it wide. Arguably used the wrong foot.

09:35 PM

74 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                             

Diaz really running this now. Palace are camped in. Liverpool asking all the questions. Is there a breakway to be had for CPFC?

Here's Diaz enjoying his goal from a few minutes ago.

Liverpool's Colombian midfielder Luis Diaz celebrates after scoring - AFP
Liverpool's Colombian midfielder Luis Diaz celebrates after scoring - AFP

09:31 PM

70 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                           

Ball is played into Salah's feet and he steps over it with a glorious little bit of vision and cheek. He did so because it meant Trent Alexander-Arnold could race onto the ball and/but sadly shank his shot a mile wide.

09:29 PM

68 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                           

Diaz and Salah are playing up front and Liverpool are the side with the ball and, maybe, the belief.

09:28 PM

66 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                         

Ward knocks Diaz to the floor. Palace want to watch it with these fouls. Ref might try to level it up.

09:25 PM

64 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                         

Odsonne Edouard comes on for Jordan Ayew and his first act is to forearm smash Tsimikas in the face. Silly thing to do, not least because it gives Liverpool a handily place freekick.

09:24 PM

63 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                       

The trio of subs: Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas on for Nat Phillips, Andy Robertson and James Milner.

09:23 PM

62 mins: Liverpool 1 Palace 1                       

Liverpool turn it on. Klopp makes three subs. They are going to have a go here.

09:21 PM

GOAL! Liverpool 1 Palace 1 (Diaz 61)

Reduced to ten men, Liverpool need something special - and they get it! Diaz picks the ball up on the left, cuts inside, beating one, two, three, and then lashing it with his right into the corner of the goal. Not convinced about the tackling but even still. Great hit.

09:20 PM

59 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1                     

Crazy stuff from Darwin. No need. Compounded the offence by carrying on like a pork chop when he should have just walked off the pitch. James Milner eventually had to escort him off.

09:16 PM

56 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1                     

DARWIN RED CARD! Darwin is extinct in this match. A minor altercation with a Palace player, and he has headbutted him in the kisser.

Darwin complains and protests, he's taking ages to get off the pitch and Klopp is legit livid with him I think.

Joachim Andersen bumped into him from the back, and gets a yellow for that. Darwin flicked a wee backwards headbutt at him, missed, and then turned around to plant a good solid Glasgow kiss on the Crystal Palace player.

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09:15 PM

55 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1                   

Liverpool, obviously, the side asking the questions. But it's certainly not the pumping of the first quarter.

09:12 PM

51 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1                   

Ayew has had a bang on the noggin and there is a, mandatory, delay. The Liverpool devotees reckon he's slowing things down but hey.

09:10 PM

49 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1                 

Some debate about a handball in Palace's defence of that Nunez break. Salah played him in, he probably should have shot earlier but allowed Joel Ward enough time to slide in with the block. VAR is, like, whatever.

09:08 PM

48 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1                 

Nunez is through... Palace desperately scrambling back. They do just enough.

09:06 PM

46 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1               

The Liverpool fans roar their men on. What can they find? Is it absurd to think that Liverpool really need to get something here?

09:02 PM

Reactions

Matthew Stanger: "Palace always seem to ruin Liverpool. Crystanbul, Gerrard’s last match at Anfield… proper bogey team."

Adam Hurrey: "Tough decision for Palace now: do they go for "What we have, we hold" or "thou shalt not pass"?"

Daniel Zeqiri: "That’s exactly the goal you imagined Palace scoring when you looked at the two starting XIs. They have a big left-sided bias and that’s where Liverpool are weakened."

08:51 PM

Half time: Liverpool 0 Palace 1

Crystal Palace have ridden their luck, and pinched a goal. Liverpool have been all over them.

Darwin with one of many misses - AP
Darwin with one of many misses - AP

08:51 PM

45 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1               

Oh Liverpool should have scored! How did they manage to miss? Nunez gets it at the back post via  a nice wee chipped pass from young Harvey E, he's certainly escaped attention more than once, and he has hit the post. That rebounds out, Virgil van Dijk has a lovely opportunity to slot the ball home, but totally mis-kicks. A comedy of errors; and the referee brings down the curtain on the first half.

08:49 PM

44 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1             

Liverpool don't want this half to end, Trent and Salah are linking up brilliantly again and it needs a lunging intervention from Guehi to stop them getting in. Leads to a corner.

08:47 PM

44 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1             

Salah crosses for Elliott, who heads it at Guaita. The Palace keeper makes a meal of that and Andersen hoofs the ball to safety.

08:45 PM

42 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1           

Palace very keen to hold onto until the half, and indeed full, time whistles. Not exactly rushing to take their goalkicks and throws.

08:43 PM

41 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1           

Diaz the first man into the book for a foul on Ayew.

08:41 PM

40 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1         

Zaha through again! This time, Alisson can get out quickly and deny him low. Still a corner, though.

08:40 PM

38 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1         

Both sides trying some shots in the last few minutes, none of them worth the price of admission.

Doucoure blooters one over/wide from 25 yards. Zaha tries his luck, straight at the keeper though. Alexander-Arnold has a couple of efforts that are not going to trouble the scorers.

08:38 PM

36 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1       

Palace enjoying themselves since the goal.

08:38 PM

35 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 1      

I say silent - Liverpool's fans were. Palace celebrated although I would say not with quite the abandonment that goal deserved, because they were surely a bit worried about a VAR intervention.

08:34 PM

Liverpool 0 Crystal Palace 1 (Zaha 32)

That is a brilliant, textbook breakway goal. Keeper plays it forward, lovely bit of skill from Eze, raking pass forward for Zaha to, as Ron Pickering so famously put it, open his legs and show us his class. Charges forward, beats the offside traps, slots it low into the corner and Anfield has fallen silent!

Eze's skill and vision were superlative. Controlled it, beats Fabinho, splits the defence.

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace scores  - Getty
Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace scores - Getty

08:30 PM

29 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0             

Liverpool's productive duo combines again as Trent picks out Mo, nicely floated lofted ball right onto his noggin but Salah cannot direct the header.

08:28 PM

24 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0           

Elliott has a decent position in the area as the ball comes in but he cannot get it under control. Something a little over excited about his performance so far.

Daniel Zeqiri explains the tactical pickle in which CPFC have found/put themselves: "Palace playing with three centre-backs defending their six-yard line is leaving that space for the pull-back that Liverpool have found a few times already. No designated holding midfielder dropping in."

Liverpool's Darwin Nunez, left, reacts after a missed scoring opportunity  - AP
Liverpool's Darwin Nunez, left, reacts after a missed scoring opportunity - AP

08:26 PM

22 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0           

Well, they haven't scored yet. That is the only crumb of comfort for Palace.

08:24 PM

21 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0         

Salah again! This time operating not down the flank but in the box. Hits a shot. Strikes it crisply enough but it's well wide. He's angry with himself. Trent AA the man who supplied it. A surprising miss.

08:23 PM

20 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0         

Mitchell is having a tough game. Salah is all over him. Or, rather, all around him. Movement is exceptional. Get round his man, crosses. Palace somehow keep them out - on this occasion, Guehi blocking Trent's effort.

08:19 PM

17 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0       

Eze clear, but fails to finish. Looks a mile offside and is. The belated flag belates belatedly.

08:18 PM

16 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0       

Luis Diaz with some excellent battling here, a Suarezian refusal to give up the lost cause. Eventually he manages to get a scuffed shot away. But not a threatening one, and I think he was offside in any event.

08:16 PM

14 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0     

Darwin gets down the right but finds himself friendless and has to settle for just sort of crossing straight at the keeper - nobody in the box, you see. Well, Klopp was lamenting his absence of strikers.

08:15 PM

12 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0     

But that proves the briefest of respites. Liverpool come again.

08:14 PM

10 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0   

Palace defended that corner okay. They hospitably allow Palace a little exploration of the other half of the Anfield pitch, but only for a few seconds. Tyrick Mitchell the guy who spearheaded that rare incursion.

08:10 PM

8 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0   

Liverpool continue to pile it on - here's young Elliott nearly dancing through the area. His shot is blocked in something close to desperation. Andersen, I think it was, somehow stuck out his heel and just got enough.

Liverpool's Harvey Elliott attempts a shot - PA
Liverpool's Harvey Elliott attempts a shot - PA

Straight after that, Darwin volleys over the bar at the far post.

Liverpool have a corner.

08:10 PM

7 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0 

A very minor infraction on the super Wilf Zaha. Alan Smith notes that this is the sort of foul refs are not giving so much this season. That could be bad news for Palace - Zaha wins them so many fouls with his pacy breaks.

08:08 PM

6 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0 

Salah wriggles clear of Mitchell, slips it back to Elliott. His shot blocked by Andersen.

08:06 PM

5 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0

All the attacking is being one by the men in red. Vicente Guaita is okay to carry on, and is certainly earning his match fee so far. Another dangerous Trent cross needs dealt with.

08:04 PM

3 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0

And there is a delay of a couple of minutes while they patch up the Palace gloveman.

08:03 PM

1 mins: Liverpool 0 Palace 0

Liverpool are into their work right away, Trent AA with a cross. The Palace keeper punches it clear but almost hits it too well, if you'll excuse the Accidental Townsend. Under pressure from Darwin. His punch rifles out to Milner, who has a shot from the edge of the area. Not far wide. James Milner, legitimately following the ball in, his caught Guaita a sore one. Guaita was miles off the line there.

08:01 PM

Teams

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, van Dijk, Robertson, Elliott, Fabinho, Milner, Salah, Nunez, Diaz. Subs: Gomez, Keita, Adrian, Henderson, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Bajcetic, van den Berg, Clark.

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Clyne, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Ayew, Doucoure, Schlupp, Zaha, Eze. Subs: Milivojevic, Olise, Mateta, Hughes, Johnstone, Edouard, Ebiowei, Richards, Plange.

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

08:00 PM

Team analysis

Fifth-choice centre-back Nat Phillips makes a surprise start for Liverpool at home to Crystal Palace after Joel Matip and Joe Gomez were deemed not fit enough to start.

Matip missed training with a groin issue while Gomez, who would have stepped in, is struggling with a knock and so only makes the bench.

With Ibrahima Konate (knee) already injured it means  Phillips, who spent the second half of last season on loan helping Bournemouth gain promotion, starts his first Liverpool game since starring in a victory over AC Milan in the San Siro in December.

Phillips is one of four changes from the draw at Fulham, with James Milner and Harvey Elliott replacing Jordan Henderson and the injured Thiago Alcantara in midfield with Darwin Nunez handed his first start up front in place of Roberto Firmino, who is left out as a precaution.

Palace captain Joel Ward returns as striker Odsonne Edouard dropped to the bench as the one change from the opening defeat to Arsenal.

07:57 PM

Players are out on the pitch

Palace kit looks excellent, white with the red and blue as a trim. Liverpool are in red shorts, of which I cannot approve. I defer to Thom Gibbs, the master of this however. Every Premier League kit ranked

07:53 PM

Twitter reactions

Rob Williams: "Wouldn’t hurt Klopp if he was just pleasant to people asking him questions ? No doubt he will get asked the odd daft one but have some grace . The constant need to belittle reporters is so boring..."

07:45 PM

Jurgen Klopp speaks to Sky Sports

"You can see Palace have had an idea and have brought an extra defender in. That might make them even more counter-attacking than usual."

Question: Why have you brought Darwin Nunez in?

"Why have I brought Darwin Nunez in? "Because I have no other striker. It really surprises me that you can look at the teamsheet, prepare for the interview and then ask me that."

07:36 PM

Liverpool bus arrives

Fans watch on as Liverpool arrive ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace - Getty Images Europe
Fans watch on as Liverpool arrive ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace - Getty Images Europe

07:34 PM

Ian Whittell adds

Bit more from Gary Neville on crisis club Man United.

“Where I got to the point on Saturday was you’ve got to move away from the players,” said Neville.

“When a school is under performing and getting poor results regularly over a period of time, they get put in special measures by government and the kids don’t get blamed.

“And that’s where Manchester United. They’re in special measures and you can’t blame the kids any more.”

And no United analysis would be complete without an examination of the Ronaldo fiasco.

“There’s a massive decision to be made on Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Neville. “They are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

“A few weeks ago, before the season started and these two results, I said the thing to do was facilitate a move out of the club - for Cristano and the club.

“Because he is obviously not happy and the club is not happy with him.

“The problem is now if they lose him, there is nothing left in terms of the goalscoring part of the pitch.

“And I genuinely believe if they don’t bring players in in the next couple of weeks - or they bring in poor players - they could finish in the bottom half of the table.

“They are going to have to live through the rockiest times this club has had since relegation to the second division forty-odd years ago.”

liverpool vs crystal palace live score premier league latest updates - Getty
liverpool vs crystal palace live score premier league latest updates - Getty

07:27 PM

More from IW on MNF

Carragher - no stranger to the art of Premier League defending - turns his attention to new centre-half Lisandro Martinez … all 5’9” of him.

“We should never judge players or managers too early but I’m convinced this can’t work because he’s 5’9” playing in a back four,” he said.

“Maybe he could go left-back, maybe go in a back three, but he can’t play in a back four in the Premier League.

“Every team Man United play - bar maybe Manchester City and Liverpool - should target that. If they don’t, they’re crackers.”

A serious-looking Gary Neville is now up and, true to form, has produced some impressive homework and research, rating every signing United have made over the past decade.

He has given every one a traffic light rating, from green for “proved value for money” to amber for “done okay” or red for “poor value.”

It makes stark reading with just two players ranked in the green list by the two Sky pundits … that's Zlatan and Bruno Fernandes.

Carragher is picking apart ten Hag’s plan of playing the ball out of the back from de Gea, in the defeats against Brighton and Brentford.

“The problem is the goalkeeper, he’s not good enough,” says Carragher. “The idea is fine, he’s just not good enough to do it.”

The video horror shows that follow back up the former England defender’s analysis.

Carragher is picking apart ten Hag’s plan of playing the ball out of the back from de Gea, in the defeats against Brighton and Brentford.

“The problem is the goalkeeper, he’s not good enough,” says Carragher. “The idea is fine, he’s just not good enough to do it.”

The video horror shows that follow back up the former England defender’s analysis.

07:27 PM

Monday Night Football

Here's Ian Whittell:

"Forget about Oleksandr Usyk versus Anthony Joshua; tonight the only bout anyone is interested in is old sparring partners Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher as they square off in Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show.

Carragher opens very much with a tactical analysis of where it has all gone wrong for Erik ten Hag and it does not make good listening for David de Gea."

07:26 PM

Programme

Somewhat bizarre pic from Liverpool dressing room - Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Somewhat bizarre pic from Liverpool dressing room - Liverpool FC via Getty Images

07:15 PM

Gary Neville

has just said that Man United has become "a graveyard for footballers". "They need to be put in special measures." Enjoyable pre-match listening for Liverpool fans on Sky's Monday Night Football show. "The rockiest times for the club since they were relegated all those years ago."

07:06 PM

Flag

Corner flag at Anfield - Getty
Corner flag at Anfield - Getty

07:05 PM

More on the Souness

if that's of interest. From the newswire.

Graeme Souness has attempted to clarify his remarks after refusing to apologise for calling football "a man's game" as he gave his views on Tottenham's Premier League draw at Chelsea on Sunday.

The former Liverpool player and manager's comments as a pundit on Sky Sports have been met with a backlash, especially given he was sat next to ex-England midfielder Karen Carney at the time and they came in the wake of the Lionesses' Euro 2022 success last month.

"It's a man's game all of a sudden again," Souness said while analysing the performance of referee Anthony Taylor following a feisty 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge which saw both Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel and Spurs counterpart Antonio Conte sent off.

"I think we've got our football back, as I would enjoy football - men at it, blow for blow, and the referee letting them get on with it."

Three-time Women's Super League winner Eni Aluko and Beth England, part of the squad that won the Euros at Wembley, criticised the comments on social media.

In a statement released to the PA news agency through Sky, Souness said: "To clarify my comments from yesterday, I was referring to the two Premier League matches I watched live on Sunday afternoon, rather than the sport of football. Football is a game for everyone to enjoy."

Asked earlier on talkSPORT if he regretted his comments, Souness replied: "Not a word of it.

"I've been advocating for years that the referees have such a major part to play in the success of the Premier League.

"We've got to be careful what we say today and I've not been very good at that, but we were becoming like other leagues.

"They were blowing the whistle all the time and it wasn't a good watch. Our game has always been unique, more meaty, more in your face and more intense and we got away from that.

"My comments yesterday were saying we've got our game back. That is the kind of football I remember playing in."

Chelsea forward England said on Twitter that Souness' comments on Sky were a "disgraceful thing to say after the summer this country has just seen".

Aluko, capped 102 times by England and now the sporting director of Angel City FC, posted: "Awkward turtles, Graeme Souness talking about "it's a man's game again" sat next to an England centurion Karen Carney, two weeks after @Lionesses end a 56 year wait and win European Championships."

Minutes later, Aluko added: "Football is football. Played by women, men, boys and girls. Very simple."

07:04 PM

Teams again

in the now largely discredited "written word" format.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, van Dijk, Robertson, Elliott, Fabinho, Milner, Salah, Nunez, Diaz. Subs: Gomez, Keita, Adrian, Henderson, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Bajcetic, van den Berg, Clark.

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Clyne, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Ayew, Doucoure, Schlupp, Zaha, Eze. Subs: Milivojevic, Olise, Mateta, Hughes, Johnstone, Edouard, Ebiowei, Richards, Plange.

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

07:02 PM

Liverpool team

07:02 PM

Crystal Palace team

06:55 PM

Boost for a couple of Liverpool youngsters

Fabio Carvalho and Harvey Elliott have made the 60, erm, boy? person? shortlist for the 2022 Golden Boy Award.

There's a ceremony in Turin later in the year. It recognises the achievements of players under the age of 21 at top-flight clubs in European football.

If only it didn't have quite such a silly name. Maybe it plays differently in Italian? It is organised by Tuttosport, a sports newspaper that is headquartered in Turin.

liverpool vs crystal palace live score premier league latest updates - Getty
liverpool vs crystal palace live score premier league latest updates - Getty

06:47 PM

Rush, as ever, lurks

A mural of Former Liverpool FC player Ian Rush - Getty
A mural of Former Liverpool FC player Ian Rush - Getty

06:38 PM

The scarf vendors are up and running

General view of Liverpool scarves for sale outside the stadium - Reuters
General view of Liverpool scarves for sale outside the stadium - Reuters

05:43 PM

Monday Night Football coming up

Good evening, welcome to our live blog of Liverpool against Crystal Palace at Anfield. The hosts began their campaign with an enjoyable and well-contested, although ultimately mildly disappointing, trip to the capital where they drew 2-2 with Fulham. Indeed, they needed an 80th minute goal from Mo Salah to escape with even the point. Crystal Palace opened with a home match where they were unfortunate to run into an Arsenal side who really looked like they mean business. The men in red and blue were well beaten, and failed to score.

So: both sides will be very keen to get the show on the road this season tonight. Liverpool are expected to welcome Naby Keita, who has been unwell, back into the squad or perhaps even the team. There is also talk of a home debut for Fabio Carvalho, a very talented youngster who is well thought of at Anfield. He got a go from the bench at Craven Cottage. At the other end of the experience spectrum, the splendid Mr Roberto Firmino is set to make his 200th Premier League appearance should he play; Trent Alexander-Arnold could notch his 150th.

Meanwhile, Palace's Michael Olise may return to their midfield after a foot injury. The visitors will not be able to call on the services of the injured James McArthur and James Tomkins.

One Liverpool legend has had to have a pre-match meal of crow. Sky Sports have just done a Tweet saying: "Graeme Souness has issued the following statement 'To clarify my comments from yesterday afternoon, I was referring to the two live Premier League matches I watched live on Sunday afternoon rather than the sport of football. Football is a game for everyone to enjoy'."

Graeme Souness 'doesn't regret a word' of comments that sparked sexism row was the earlier story but, events dear boy events. He has found strong support from The Telegraph's Oliver Brown, though, who writes: Graeme Souness has nothing to apologise for.

Elsewhere, Sam Wallace had the exclusive news Liverpool suffer fresh injury blow with Joel Matip a doubt for Crystal Palace