Liverpool are almost in the clear as the Premier League yellow card amnesty approaches, with Darwin Núñez now available for clashes with Man United and Arsenal.
In the face of referee Andy Madley’s card-happy approach during Liverpool’s triumph over Crystal Palace, the Merseyside club will be breathing a sigh of relief as two key players managed to steer clear of the referee’s book.
The Reds secured a 2-1 victory over the 10-man Eagles, thanks to late strikes from Mohamed Salah and Harvey Elliott, propelling them to the summit of the Premier League standings.
Joe Gomez and Luis Díaz were the only Liverpool players to receive yellow cards from Madley. However, a caution initially given to Virgil van Dijk for a penalty foul on Odsonne Edouard was subsequently rescinded following a VAR review that highlighted a prior foul by Will Hughes on Wataru Endō.
On the other side of the pitch, Palace found themselves on the receiving end of eight cards, including one for manager Roy Hodgson.
Jordan Ayew was sent off after being booked twice. Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen, Chris Richards, Jefferson Lerma, and Naouirou Ahamada also saw yellow. Consequently, Palace incurred an automatic £25k fine from the FA for their lack of discipline.
Ayew is now set to serve a one-match ban due to his dismissal, while Ward is teetering on the edge of an automatic one-match ban after accumulating four yellow cards this season. As we plunge into the frenzied festive period, Liverpool has managed to sidestep such disciplinary tightropes.
In Premier League rules, players are handed a one-match ban if they accumulate five bookings within their club’s first 19 games of the season.
If a player receives 10 yellow cards by gameweek 32, they face a two-game suspension. A total of 15 bookings before season’s end results in a three-match ban.
The clash against Palace marked both teams’ 16th game of the season, meaning players have three more matches to avoid a fifth yellow card and subsequent suspension before they are given some leeway.
Alexis Mac Allister has already served a one-match ban after receiving five yellow cards, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Darwin Núñez follow with three each.
Having successfully avoided bookings against Crystal Palace, both players have ensured they won’t be sidelined for either of the Reds’ crucial Premier League encounters against Manchester United and Arsenal — although they could still miss the latter fixture if they see red against Erik ten Hag’s men, or face dismissal in the Carabao Cup against West Ham. If either player were to be booked in both league games, they would miss Liverpool’s Boxing Day trip to Burnley.
Meanwhile, Gomez, Endō, and Ibrahima Konaté have each received two yellow cards in the Premier League this season. If these three players are booked in each of Liverpool’s next three matches, they will be suspended for the New Year’s Day home game against Newcastle United before the English top-flight’s first amnesty kicks in.
Although Liverpool hasn’t entirely eliminated the risk of imminent suspensions, with the New Year clash against Newcastle on the horizon, Jürgen Klopp can take solace in the fact that his squad has successfully navigated around potential suspensions for pivotal games against Manchester United and Arsenal. The latter match is particularly significant as it could be a decisive top-of-the-table showdown.