Jurgen Klopp had no complaints about Darwin Nunez’s red but was proud of his Liverpool side as they battled back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Striker Nunez lost his head but fellow South American Luis Diaz ensured the Reds did not lose their long unbeaten home record with a brilliant equaliser to secure a Premier League draw with the Eagles.
Anfield is no stranger to fiery Uruguayans after witnessing the highs and lows of Luis Suarez for three-and-a-half years. However, the recklessness of their summer signing’s weak headbutt on Joachim Andersen beggared belief.
Frustration had been growing having gone behind to Wilfried Zaha’s 32nd-minute goal against the run of play. But the way Nunez reacted to being provoked by the Palace centre-back was naive at best and idiotic at worst.
Liverpool did at least have the outstanding Diaz to rescue them. The winger beat at least five players in shimmying his way into position to unleash a 20-yard shot past Victor Guaita, four minutes after the red card.
And speaking after the game, Klopp told Sky Sports: “It was a really good start, exactly what we wanted, showing a lot of desire, it was all there.
“We were then unlucky in situations. The game plan for Palace was obviously to have five at the back, get men behind the ball and go for the counter attack. It is difficult with speed of Zaha.
“The second half again started positive, but getting the red card was a knockback. Of course it was a red, he was provoked but that is not how he should behave.
“Then we equalise four mins later. With 10 men, putting in such an effort. My real feeling now is that I am proud.”
Milner backs Nunez to bounce back
Meanwhile, veteran midfielder James Milner has backed Nunez to bounce back from his moment of madness.
He added: “I didn’t see the incident [Nunez’s red card]. He is going to be disappointed in that. We have to get around him and rally. He will learn from it.
“The team reacted well and the ground did and got behind us. We could have nicked it but it wasn’t to be.
“Good teams react to disappointments and stick together. You see the readiness for the season and the fight. We have had a tough week and preparations have not been ideal. Nobody can deny we have fighting spirit.
“Sometimes you need a moment of brilliance and when you have players like Luis on the pitch, he can create something out of nothing. It was an incredible goal. Hopefully there will be many more.”