PREVIEW | Liverpool v Crystal Palace (Premier League)

Liverpool play their first game at Anfield since the return of the Premier League on Wednesday evening, when Crystal Palace visit. PADRAIG O’CALLAGHAN previews the game.

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Liverpool welcome their former manager Roy Hodgson and his Crystal Palace side to Anfield as they look to record their first win since the return of Premier League action.

The Reds drew their last game against Everton, a game which Liverpool dominated for the most part, but it was the Blues who had the best opportunity of the game late on when Alisson saved from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies hit the foot of the post from the rebound.

Crystal Palace collected three points in a routine 2-0 win over Bournemouth which saw them close in on European places. The Eagles scored two first-half goals which proved to be the difference as the Cherries’ freefall under Eddie Howe continued.

Recent form

Liverpool had to settle for a draw in the Merseyside Derby as their city rivals delayed their title charge. The draw meant their lead at the top of the table was cut to 20 points, though Jürgen Klopp will hardly lose sleep over that margin.

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The home side made a bright start, Alisson Becker denying Richarlison with a smart save just three minutes in. Liverpool grew into the game and started to dominate, with Naby Keïta central to most of Liverpool’s build up play. Minamino started up front next to Firmino, but often drifted left. The Japanese international linked up well with his teammates but was often bullied off the ball too easily.

Firmino had the best chance for Liverpool but dragged wide from outside the box after excellent build up play after Minamino won the ball high up the pitch. James Milner and Joël Matip both went off injured which somewhat killed Liverpool’s momentum.

Everton then squandered two chances to win it late on. Calvert-Lewin saw his shot saved by Alisson before Gomez deflected Davies’ rebound onto the post, before Richarlison put Dejan Lovren on his backside for the second time in as many minutes and saw his effort saved by his fellow countryman. This was the third 0-0 draw at Goodison in a row for the Reds as they moved a point closer to being Champions.

Crystal Palace easily dispatched a poor Bournemouth side at the Vitality Stadium. The Eagles faced a strong-looking Cherries side which included Welsh internationals David Brooks and Harry Wilson, but were rarely tested.

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Palace dominated from the get-go. Wilfred Zaha spurned a good chance, missing the target completely after being played through by Luka Milivojević. The Serbian then opened the scoring with one of his trademark free-kicks. Aaron Ramsdale did get a hand to his effort, but it proved to be too strong.

The away side continued to control the game. Jordan Ayew doubled Palace’s lead by caressing the ball into the bottom corner following a move which carved Bournemouth defence apart. Wilfried Zaha fed Patrick van Aanholt down the wing who put it on a plate for the Ghanaian.

Roy Hodgson’s side saw out the rest of the game quite easily and were rarely tested as they picked up a valuable three points with European places now in reach.

Team news

Jürgen Klopp confirmed that Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson will be able for selection after the duo did not play against Everton. Salah was on the bench and would have probably got on the pitch if we were not forced into changes with Milner and Matip both going off through injury.

Those two will both miss the Crystal Palace game as Klopp confirmed that he will be rotating his squad to avoid more injuries.

Alisson along with van Dijk will probably be the two main stay players until the Premier League title is sealed. Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson will both return to the starting line-up. Neco Williams could get the chance to prove himself in this side but marking Zaha is not an easy task so Trent Alexander-Arnold should keep his place for this one.

Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could form a midfield three with Naby Keïta and Fabinho rested. Henderson would be the defensive midfielder of that trio while Oxlade-Chamberlain would support the front three.

Salah and Sadio Mané will probably be joined by Roberto Firmino, though Divock Origi could get the nod after the Brazilian’s poor showing at Goodison Park. Both Salah and Mané have a good record against Palace and will be hoping their form continues at Anfield.

Roy Hodgson also has a fully fit side to chose from, though with his side coming up against ‘easier’ opposition after the Liverpool game, he may heavily rotate his side.

His defence can’t be rotated that much due to limited options available. Guaita will keep his place in goal, with Jairo Riedewald the only likely change — he could replace Scott Dann.

Max Meyer could come into midfield for James McArthur with Cheikhou Kouyaté and Luka Milivojević completing a midfield three.

Wilfried Zaha often causes Liverpool problems and will once again be a threat at Anfield. Partnering the Ivory Coast international up front could be Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend with top scorer Jordan Ayew rested for more ‘winnable’ games.


A win for the Reds would see them only need two more points from their remaining seven matches to be crowned champions. They could also become champions without any more points for the rest of the season if they get the win here and City fail to win any of their remaining eight games.

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Jürgen Klopp has a decent record against Crystal Palace. He has won his last five encounters against the Eagles in the Premier League. Despite the wins, each game against Palace is always a difficult one.

The pace of the game will likely be similar to that of the Everton game so Liverpool may not come flying out of the traps as usual.

Due to the match fitness levels of both sides it will be a closely contested match, but Liverpool should have enough to edge it by a single goal.

Predicted final score: Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace

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