Darwin Nunez “tried TOO hard” on his Liverpool home debut, NBC pundit Robbie Earle insists … while Danny Higginbotham claims the game “turned around” after the $102 million forward’s “stupid” red card as the Reds reverted to last season’s style of play
- Darwin Nunez was sent off after 57 minutes of his Anfield debut as Liverpool drew 1-1
- Nunez will miss the next three games, including Manchester United on August 22
- Liverpool sit on two points, four behind league leaders Manchester City
Liverpool’s poor start to the season continued on Monday with a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace with $102m summer signing Darwin Nunez enduring an Anfield debut to forget.
The draw now means the Reds have picked up just two points from two games following a 2-2 draw at Fulham on the opening weekend.
Nunez’s home debut was marred by a red card for a headbutt on Palace defender Joachim Anderson.
Darwin Nunez was sent off after heading the ball at Crystal Palace defender Joachim Anderson
“It’s stupid, it’s ridiculous, there’s no excuse for it,” NBC Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham said.
Fellow analyst Robbie Earle opined that while Nunez’s intent throughout the night was admirable, he found himself too deep in his own mind and “trying too hard”.
“It looked to me like he was a player who was trying too hard, trying to show the Liverpool players how good he is,” he said in the US after the game.
Robbie Earle believes Liverpool’s new striker was sucked in by the wily Palace centre-back
He’s going to be a big player, we saw that last week. When he finds his feet in this Liverpool team, he’s going to score goals, but he has to learn and understand that the Premier League isn’t just about physicality, it’s about provocation.
“He’s been what I call old pro’ed, an old pro has talked to him, pushed and pushed him, and he’s responded in a way that the old pro wanted him to.
“I thought it was a disappointing day for him today when we all expected so much.”
The Uruguayan tried to argue his case with referee Paul Tierney, but to no avail
Nunez missed a glorious chance to equalize with his tired strike hitting the post on the stroke of half-time.
While the Reds were at a numerical disadvantage following the Uruguayan’s departure, NBC analyst Danny Higginbotham believed the Anfield club were more dangerous after he left the pitch.
“The game turned on its head after that and Liverpool looked most likely and if you go back during the game it’s like Liverpool tried too hard to play to Nunez’s strengths,” he said.
Suddenly he goes off the pitch, Liverpool go back to what Liverpool used to be and how we have seen them in recent seasons.
Danny Higginbotham believes there is simply no excuse for Nunez’s headbutt on Anderson
“I think there’s food for thought going forward, of course Liverpool are going to be without Nunez for a while now, but the transition to getting him into the team and the players adapted to him looks like it’s going to take time.”
The Merseysiders are already adrift of the Premier League’s summit, trailing last season’s champions and race favorites Manchester City by four points.
“There is a sense of frustration,” Higginbotham added on Liverpool’s start to the season.
The biggest thing for Jurgen Klopp, it’s very difficult to improve their starting eleven, City have done that. I’m not convinced that Liverpool have done that.
Nunez had to be led away by James Milner as he struggled to contain his frustrations
The away team could grab all three points after creating several good chances.
Despite the wasted chance, Palace manager Patrick Viera would have been ecstatic with the result after an opening day defeat to Arsenal.
“Credit to Palace, Patrick had a plan,” Earle said in the aftermath.
Liverpool are in 12th place in the Premier League, two points ahead of the relegation zone where Everton, Manchester United and West Ham are.
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera set his team up superbly in a 1-1 away draw