Darwin Nunez was ‘sucked up’ by Joachim Andersen’s tactics before his header but the Crystal Palace defender has a lot more to do than that.
Andersen was the recipient of a bad encounter with the Liverpool striker in their 1-1 draw, hitting the bridge with the Uruguayan and then seeing a straight red card.
The 57th-minute incident helped Palace earn a point at Anfield against Jurgen Klopp’s ten men, with the Reds unable to find a winner after Luis Diaz equalized in the second half.
Nunez and Andersen fought throughout the match, culminating in the incident, and Ally McCoist sensed it was coming.
“I thought Andersen sucked him in a bit if I’m being honest with you,” the talkSPORT pundit said.
“In no way am I making any apologies to him because it’s completely unacceptable, but I’m just trying to find a reason for it.”
Andersen may have invoked the dark arts to provoke a reaction from Nunez, but it wasn’t just the absence of a striker that prevented Liverpool from taking three points, but also the Danish defender’s overall performance.
Andersen had to show his defending skills to keep Liverpool at bay, and in a 2-0 loss to Arsenal on the opening weekend, it was all about his passing.
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Jamie Carragher was blown away by the former Lyon and Fulham man’s performance against the Gunners, even going so far as to compare him to Barcelona legend Ronald Koeman for his passing range.
After jokingly comparing the two in the first 45, Carragher added: “I thought I was getting a bit carried away when I called Andersen Ronald Koeman in the first half, but I don’t think I was. .”
The stats back it up too, with Andersen leading the game against Arsenal in touches, passes, final third passes, long passes, duels won and clearances.
The 26-year-old had to show more restraint as Liverpool increased the pressure on matchday two, but maintained his 100 per cent airborne record by winning all six aerial duels this term, and his numbers were all as good last time. season.
But it was on his passing that Andersen really stood out, registering 253 long passes in the Premier League last season, the most of any outfield player, 50 ahead of second-placed Trent Alexander-Arnold.
His tackling was also on point last season, winning possession in 77% of his duels, the highest rate of any defender in the league.
On top of all that, his 6ft 4in frame has also proved useful, with only Manchester City’s Ruben Dias registering more assists than Andersen’s three when it comes to centre-backs.
Patrick Vieira will no doubt be delighted that his £17m signing from Lyon has continued his form in the current campaign, and even happier that he is doing so in partnership with another great talent, Marc Guehi.
“Me and Jo get along very well on and off the pitch,” the England international told talkSPORT.
“I think for me, I’m really learning from him, he’s played in so many different leagues and he’s got so much experience and I think we get along really well.
“I’m the one learning, he leading a lot, so I think it’s a good mix between the two of us.”
Many have questioned Vieira’s huge clearance and evolution towards youth and skill after replacing Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park last season, but so far it’s working.
And none of this would be possible without Andersen, whose name is likely to stay in the headlines for all the right reasons if he keeps playing.
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