Liverpool’s rocky start to the new Premier League season continued on Monday night as they had to come from behind to get a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace.
It’s still very early in the season, but Liverpool are already four points benind title rivals Manchester City, a gap that they cannot allow to get any larger of Jurgen Klopp’s side is to have any hope of winning the title.
While the headlines were about the red card to Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez, bit there are two bigger macro trends that are impacting Liverpool’s performance this season.
One is the unusually high number of injuries that they have. Against Palace, Liverpool Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Thiago, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Caoimhin Kelleher and Diogo Jota while Joe Gomez only fit enough for the substitutes’ bench.
I don’t know what Liverpool’s preseason schedule was like, but something went wrong in the planning of it to have that many injuries at the beginning of the season.
The second trend is that when Wilfried Zaha scored to put Palace 1-0 up, that was the sixth consecutive Premier League game in which Liverpool have conceded first. It is difficult to be successful when you are always playing from behind and chasing the game.
Against Crystal Place, Liverpool were the game’s dominant team, even during the final half an hour they played with ten men. They registered 24 shots to Crystal Palace’s seven. But this was not Liverpool at their potent best. Far from it.
They have not found their rhythm in the easy, natural way that City have and, given that a single point has separated the two clubs over the course of the last four seasons, that is something that may need to change quickly.
On the sending off Clop had this to say about the incident:
‘I’ve seen it back now, that’s of course a red card. He is provoked all the time but that’s not how he should behave.
‘He knows that now himself, I will talk to him. It makes no sense when I talk now too much about it in public.
‘It’s absolutely not the reaction you want to see from the challenge and the centre-halves in the Premier League they will do that to him. He’s a handful himself but that’s not the reaction.’
Next up for Liverpool is a relegation six-pointer against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday. Both teams will be desperate to get their first win of the season against their bitter rivals.