Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Referee: Jon Moss
The last team to beat Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League was Crystal Palace. That was 31 games ago (April 2017). Since then, Liverpool have kept 21 clean sheets, winning 22 games and drawing nine. That is some run but also a considerable record to keep hold of as Klopp welcomes Hodgson’s men on Saturday afternoon.
With the likes of Manchester City falling to Crystal Palace in recent weeks, Liverpool will need to be on red alert to come out of this potential banana skin, unscathed. If they do, they will regain their seven-point advantage at the top of the table, at least for 24 hours or so.
Palace are in good form at the moment having taken 10 points from a possible 18 in their last six games. Their previous 11 games had them register only six points so they are definitely on the rise at this stage of the season. The Eagles have been a thorn in the side of Liverpool lately though. Liverpool have won five of the last six but prior to this, there were some stubborn Palace performances which saw them win three of the four games between 2014-15.
The earlier meeting this season saw Liverpool win 2-0 with a first-half penalty and a very late consolation goal to seal the victory way back in August. Palace were also reduced to 10-men when last man Wan-Bissaka brought down Salah on his way through on goal.
Opta Match Facts
Liverpool have never won four consecutive meetings against Crystal Palace in top flight football.
Liverpool haven’t conceded more than once in any of their last 16 Premier League home games, keeping 12 clean sheets and only conceding four goals.
Liverpool are looking to win seven back to back Premier League home games for the first time since January 2014.
Palace are looking to win three back to back Premier League away games for the first time since August 2015.
Palace have won one, drawn one and lost five when they have met the Premier League’s top sides in the last seven. They’ve also failed to score in six of those meetings.
Liverpool: Klopp has a small headache this weekend with many injuries to the Liverpool back line which include Lovren (hamstring), Gomez (leg) and Alexander-Arnold (knee) as well as knocks for Lallana and Wijnaldum in a testing period for the Reds in terms of their title challenging wounded soldiers. News circulated early this week that Alexander-Arnold, the Liverpool right-back, would be out for an extended period of time after playing through a knee injury during their 1-0 win at Brighton last time out.
However, Friday afternoon told a slightly different story with Klopp mentioning he could play against Crystal Palace this week. It is all very confusing but I’d imagine this weekend comes too soon for him and I expect Milner to take his place on the right side. I expect Fabinho to pick up where he left off, besides Van Dijk, as the pairing did well to hold off on the South Coast last weekend. Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to play again before the end of the season and he may even be a month or so away from a return to the starting XI.
Crystal Palace: Hodgson has problems of his own with respect to injuries with some concern between the sticks. Guaita (calf) and Hennessey (thigh) are expected injured with Guaita sustaining his injury last weekend which leaves Speroni, 39 years of age and the oldest registered Premier League player at this time, first choice at this stage for Palace. Souare (shoulder) will also be missing for the Eagles this weekend. Everyone else has a clean bill of health though so attacking wise, Palace look strong. Benteke should be back from injury and I expect him to make an appearance, albeit from the bench.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Milner, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Zaha, Milojevic, Kouyate, McArthur, Townsend; Ayew
Score Prediction: Liverpool 3 Crystal Palace 1
I think Liverpool run away with this one and potentially Hodgson’s side nicking a goal late on when Liverpool are in cruise control. Palace have a huge problem between the sticks and are down to their third-choice goalkeeper and Liverpool have their problems at the back also. I just don’t think this is the game where Liverpool slip up, that’s for sure.