Darwin Nunez ‘tried TOO hard’ on his Liverpool home debut, insists NBC pundit Robbie Earle… while Danny Higginbotham claims game ‘turned’ after $102m striker’s ‘stupid’ red card as Reds went back to last season’s style of play
- Darwin Nunez was sent off on 57 minutes of Anfield debut as Liverpool drew 1-1
- Nunez will miss the next three games including at Manchester United on Aug. 22
- Liverpool sit on two points, four behind league leaders Manchester City
Liverpool’s sluggish start to the season continued Monday with a 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace with $102million summer signing Darwin Nunez enduring an Anfield debut to forget.
That tie now means the Reds have picked up just two points from two games after a 2-2 result at Fulham on the opening weekend.
Nunez’s home debut was marred by a red card following a headbutt to Palace defender Joachim Anderson.
Darwin Nunez was sent off after headbutting Crystal Palace defender Joachim Anderson
‘It’s stupid, it’s ridiculous, there’s no excuse for it,’ said NBC Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham.
Fellow analyst Robbie Earle believed while Nunez’s intent throughout the night was admirable, he found himself too deep inside his own mind and ‘tried too hard’.
‘It looked to me like he was a player trying too hard, trying to show the Liverpool players how good he is,’ he said on USA postgame.
Robbie Earle believes Liverpool’s new striker was sucked in by the wily Palace center-back
‘He’s going to be a great player, we saw that last week. When he finds his feet in this Liverpool team he’s going to score goals but he’s got to learn and understand that the Premier League isn’t only about physicality, it’s about provocation.
‘He’s been what I call old pro’ed, an old pro has been talking to him, prodding and pushing him and he’s reacted in a way that the old pro wanted him to do.
‘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 it was to no avail
Nunez missed a glorious chance to equalize with his scuffed strike hitting the post on the cusp of half-time.
While the Reds were numerically disadvantaged after the Uruguayan departed, NBC analyst Danny Higginbotham believed the Anfield club were more dangerous after he left the field.
‘The game turned on its head after that and Liverpool looked the most likely and if you go back during the game, it’s as though Liverpool were trying too hard to play to Nunez’s strengths,’ he said.
‘All of a sudden he goes off the pitch, Liverpool go back to what Liverpool were previously and how we’ve seen them over the last few seasons.
Danny Higginbotham believes there is simply ‘no excuse’ for Nunez’s headbutt on Anderson
‘I think that’s food for thought going forward, obviously Liverpool are going to be without Nunez for a while now but the transition of getting him into the team and the players adjusted to him looks like it’s going to take time.’
The Merseysiders are already adrift of the Premier League’s apex, trailing last season’s champions and runaway favorite Manchester City by four points.
‘There’s a sense of frustration,’ Higginbotham added on Liverpool’s start to the season.
‘The biggest thing for Jurgen Klopp, it’s very hard to make their starting eleven better, City have done that. I’m not convinced Liverpool have done that.
Nunez had to be ushered away by James Milner as he struggled to contain his frustrations
The away side could have snatched all three points after creating several good chances.
Notwithstanding 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 game’s aftermath.
Liverpool sit 12th in the Premier League standings, two points ahead of the relegation zone where Everton, Manchester United and West ham lie.
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera set his team up superbly in the 1-1 draw away from home