Table toppers Liverpool aim to continue great run against Palace who search for first win in three
Liverpool to win 1-0
Liverpool flexed their muscles against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side in midweek, leaving in late to claim three points curtesy of a Roberto Firmino header from a corner.
Jurgen Klopp was understandably elated after the victory, one that takes his side top of the table after 13 matches played and he will have his sights on staying there for the remainder of the season.
Despite not getting off to such a flying start as they enjoyed last season, Liverpool have only lost one match this campaign, the shock 7-2 thrashing by Aston Villa, and have continued to bring home the results even with a whole host of injuries.
Their opponents, Crystal Palace, have looked on the verge of the top half of the table for most of the season, their inconsistency preventing them from taking the next step.
They sit 12th coming into this match having taken a point from both of their last two fixtures. They have shown better form of late, staying unbeaten for three matches on the bounce for the first time this season.
Form Guide (all comps): LLWDD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Longest unbeaten run of the season
Better defence record than most teams
Reasons to be fearful:
Lost 8 of the last 9 league matches against Liverpool
Too hot and cold to break into the top half
Crystal Palace, over the past few matches, have started to show the sort of consistency that would help to convert them into a top half team, should they keep it up for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, just have things have started to get going for them in the past, they’ve plummeted back down to Earth with a run of poor performances.
They have shown with results such as the 5-1 win over West Brom and 4-1 over Leeds that they have the firepower in their arsenal. The Eagles also have the 6th tightest defence in the league this season.
Liverpool will present a very tough test of those statistics, but if Palace play to their strengths, and get key players such as Zaha into the game, they could cause The Reds some problems.
Star Man – Eberechi Eze
Looks a real talent at just 22. He is linking up well with the likes of Zaha and can be a star in the making for this side.
Form Guide (all comps): WWDDW
Reasons to be cheerful
Playing well despite multiple injuries
Sitting at the top of the table will boost confidence
Reasons to be fearful
Absentee list continues to grow
Palace can be dangerous on the counterattack
Unusually, Liverpool’s performances seem to get better the more players they have out injured.
Their absentee list reached a peak before their match with Tottenham in midweek, with Klopp having to select a team which had no recognised senior centre backs, as well as players such as Thiago, Jota, Gomez, Van Dijk all sitting out.
They were largely brilliant against Spurs, although they left it late to score their winning and their opponents had one or two chances to win it themselves, having 73% possession and creating the lion share of opportunities.
Understandably, Klopp will need to get his players up for this one, perhaps even more so than Spurs. They’ve had one or two disappointing results against the smaller teams of late, particularly Brighton and Fulham.
Nevertheless, Liverpool will be favourites here.
Star Man – Mo Salah
Looked as lively as anyone in a Liverpool shirt in midweek, scoring the first and always a thorn in Spurs’ side.
Liverpool have the confidence and are favourites
Fatigue may come into it with so many fixtures
Palace can hurt Liverpool on the counter
If Palace are to surprise Liverpool here, they will have to do so without Christian Benteke who was sent off in his match against West Ham.
He has provided a real focal point up front of late. Palace still have other dangerous attackers of course.
Liverpool will be favourites but will need to get themselves up again after a tough performance in midweek.
Liverpool to win 1-0