PREVIEW | Crystal Palace v Liverpool (Premier League)

Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday to face a struggling Crystal Palace side as they look to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League.

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Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday against Crystal Palace. Having claimed a huge win before the international break, the Reds hold a healthy eight-point advantage over second-placed Leicester City.

Liverpool earned a huge three points over title rivals Manchester City two weeks ago. Pep Guardiola’s side were out-classed for the majority of the game. With a nine-point lead over the Citizens, Liverpool have a strong advantage at the top of the table.

Crystal Palace are currently in freefall. After a strong start to the season they sat in fifth, but three defeats in their last four games have seen them fall to 12th place. Star man Wilfried Zaha looks almost disinterested after a move to Arsenal fell through.

Recent form

Crystal Palace made a strong start to the season, they picked up 14 points from their first eight games which saw them rise as far up as fifth in the Premier League table. They were on the end of only two defeats in that period, against Sheffield United — who have proven to be a surprise package this season — and Tottenham Hotspur.


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Their first win at Old Trafford since 1989 started their good form, while wins against Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham United catapulted them up the table despite a draw at Wolves and a heavy defeat to Spurs.

Recent games have seen them come up against the better teams in the League, in their last four they have face three of the top four and they have lost all three games by the same scoreline. They looked to be heading to a fourth defeat to Arsenal after being two down by the 10th minute, but the Gunners gave them a chance to salvage a draw which they did — the only point they have picked up in the last month.

Liverpool, meanwhile, remain unbeaten this season. The Reds had the opportunity to open a nine-point gap between themselves and Man City, which they took. Liverpool bossed their rivals for 80 minutes. Helped by the Anfield atmosphere they made City look distinctly average.

Early goals from Fabinho and Mohamed Salah gave the Reds a commanding lead, before Sadio Mané extended the advantage eight minutes after half-time following good work from Jordan Henderson. Bernardo Silva pulled back a late goal, but it proved to be only a consolation.

The win meant Liverpool have picked up a possible 34 points from 36 on offer. The draw at Old Trafford has been the only time we have dropped points this season, but the point we did get will prove to be a valuable one given our performance on the day.

Team news

Despite both being ruled out by Sky Sports, Andy Robertson and Mo Salah both returned to training on Thursday. They have returned late, but could still be included in the matchday squad.

The Reds play Napoli next week in the Champions League and a win would guarantee top spot in Group E with a game to spare. If we can get a couple of goals scored early, then our more important players can be rested.

Joël Matip is the only major injury concern — Xherdan Shaqiri has returned from injury and will be a welcome addition to the squad.

The first eleven shouldn’t have too many changes from the one that beat Man City 3-1. I think Naby Keïta will be needed, the Guinean often has a high pass completion rate in the final third which would be helpful against a deep block.

Mo Salah will likely be given a rest as he suffers from an ongoing ankle injury.

Crystal Palace have used a 4-1-4-1 formation this season. James Tomkins and Gary Cahill have proved to be a strong defensive partnership, but an agile interchanging attack can get the better of them. Patrick van Aanholt is a threat from full-back — he often get on the scoresheet and get into good attacking positions.

The trio of Cheikhou Kouyaté, James McArthur and Luka Milivojević forms quite a physical midfield, but Liverpool have now learnt how to deal with physical battles in the middle of the park so it shouldn’t be a worry.

Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend will start in wide midfield positions, it allows the duo to get the ball deep which gives them a chance to get at the full-backs and use their excellent dribbling ability.

Prediction

Liverpool could extend their gap at the top of the table further. A win at Selhurst park would see them go 11 points ahead of Chelsea and 12 ahead of Man City. They face each other in the evening and a win for the London side would put a further dent in City’s title hopes.

To end those title hopes, Liverpool would have to win. Crystal Palace were a bogey team for Liverpool before Jürgen Klopp arrived. Since the Germans arrival, Liverpool have won all three games at what is considered a tough away fixture.

Liverpool should win — they usually do against teams outside the top six. Their last loss against such a team was against Swansea City in 2017, in Virgil van Dijk’s first league game for the club.

Goals seem to be coming from all over the pitch at the moment. 13 different players have scored so far this season, with quite a few coming from midfield. Midfield runners will be important against such a defensive unit which will help us win the game.

Predicted final score: Crystal Palace 0-3 Liverpool

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