Another terrific match in “this league” ended with Crystal Palace holding Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Wilfried Zaha burgled Palace a superb lead and then Darwin Nunez was sent off for a hilarious and silly headbutt, before Luis Diaz conjured a sensational equaliser; Liverpool have just one point from two games, and even at this early stage of the season, will be worried about their title prospects.
The first half went almost exactly as Patrick Vieira would have wanted and expected.
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Liverpool, presumably irritated by their dropped points at Fulham, started well and missed various chances, none glaring but various presentable.
Then, on 32 minutes, a perfectly executed break saw Eberechi Eze feed Zaha, who streaked away from Nat Phillips and finished beautifully.
Then, on 57 minutes, Joachim Anderson shoved Nunez… who turned and applied brow to face by way of revenge!
The referee had no option but to brandish a red card, but the flow of the game didn’t change, and on 61 minutes, Diaz scored a jazzer, jinking across the face of the box before punishing a glorious sidefooter into the far side-netting.
Liverpool gave everything in search of a winner, but it was actually Palace who came closer to stealing the points, Zaha hitting the post when on the slide.

TALKING POINT

It sounds ridiculous, but having dropped four points in two games, Liverpool's title challenge is ailing. Not because two dodgy results early season mean they’re no longer good, but because the number of points required to win the title is so high, that dropping them – against Fulham and Palace too, teams unlikely to finish in the top eight – means they've handed Man City a four-point advantage. Retrieving that will take some doing.

This does not speak well of the league. When Jose Mourinho came to Chelsea, he changed the culture of English football by raising the number of points required to be champions – it was no longer enough to come on strong in the second half of the season – and Pep Guardiola has increased what is necessary again.

Though the two men are linked by their remorseless desire to win, that is not he main reason for the change - they are also linked because they won and are winning with dirty money aiming to dominate football for reasons that have nothing to do with actual football. When enjoying fine games, such as tonight’s we should not forget the level to which our sport has stooped in its pursuit of riches over integrity.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) Scored a lovely goal, almost scored two more, and was the one-man forward-line his side needed.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Liverpool: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 7, Phillips 5, Van Dijk 6, Robertson 6 Elliott 7, Fabinho 5, Milner 5, Salah 5, Nunez 5, Diaz 7. Subs: Tsimikas 6, Gomez 6, Henderson 6, Carvalho 6.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 7 Clyne 7, Ward 7, Andersen 8, Guehi 7, Mitchell 7; Ayew 6, Doucoure 8, Schlupp 6, Eze 8; Zaha 8. Subs: Edouard, Richards 6, Milivojevic 6, Hughes 6, Olise 6.

KEY STAT

Liverpool have gone behind in six of their last seven games.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS



32’ - GOAL! Liverpool 0-1 Crystal Palace (Zaha) This is a glorious goal, and exactly what Palace came for! Guaita cleared nicely for Eze who slipped a lovely pass in behind for Zaha, who'd put himself in race with Phillips. He's away before the defender even turns, left of centre, then he composes, opens body, and sidefoots a lovely finish across Alisson into the far side-netting! Now then!

41’ - PALACE ARE ENJOYING THEMSELVES NOW!
Clyne moves the ball infield to Doucoure, whose first-time pass sticks Zaha in, this time right of centre! But a heavy touch means he's struggling when Alisson comes out, and shonuff the keeper blocks the eventuating shot with his body. Palace are picking gaps in the Liverpool defence though!

45+3’ - LIVERPOOL SHOULD SCORE!
The corner is half-cleared, Elliott lofts over the top for Nunez, who's in ... but he mishits his shot and, though it looks it nonetheless, it skips off the turf and onto the post, then Van Dijk mishits the follow-up!

57’ - NUNEZ IS SENT OFF!
Andersen shoves Nunez from behind, so Nnuez turns and sticks the nut on him! It's not a proper, Houchen headbutt, but it's not a flick either, and that's a red card in any era. What a silly boy. And he won't leave the pitch either, petulantly shouting and gesticulating, before Klopp orfders him off. He's in trouble later on.

61’ - WHAT A GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Crystal Palace (Diaz)
Diaz takes the ball on the left, jinks by Ayew then across Docoure and another defender I can't even see, then eases across two more so that he's almost central, before punching a glooooorious curler into the far side-netting, about halfway up.

78’ - A RARE PALACE ATTACK
Mitchell attacks down the left and his poor cross is headed away, but Palace retrieve possession and Doucoure crosses superbly from the right, Zaha slides in at the back post ... and I think his slide hits the post! That was very nearly 1-2!
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