Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Venue: Selhurst Park
TV: Sky Sports
Referee: Michael Oliver
The first Monday Night Football (MNF) matchup sees Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park to take on a Crystal Palace side who managed to beat Premier League new boys Fulham last weekend 2-0, away from home. Liverpool, on the other hand, ran riot against a new look West Ham side who seemed to falter at Anfield again and succumbed to a 4-0 drumming.
Crystal Palace went head to head with a high-spirited Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon and they put in a solid performance for travelling fans. The Eagles made a handful of signings over the summer, more notably Kouyate, Meyer and J Ayew but the biggest news for them was holding on to superstar Wilfried Zaha. This week they managed to pen him down to a new deal as well so all round great news at Crystal Palace who will have good morale coming into this one.
With Liverpool completely stepping up to the masses of expectation surrounding the club, and possibly even surpassing it, last weekend saw a controlled performance in front of their own fans with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane (2) and Daniel Sturridge all on target to put their side top of the table on goal difference. With West Ham fielding many new faces, no-one could be sure as to how they would perform but it didn’t take long for it to become apparent that West Ham weren’t quite ready for the task at hand. In short, Liverpool were ruthless in front of goal, their front three had free reign for major parts of the match, new signing Naby Keita blossomed in the midfield and the back four plus new goal keeper Alisson Becker were mostly untroubled throughout.
A win for either side here would see them continue their 100% records in the Premier League so far this season and the managers and both sets of players will be looking to do just that! Since the 2013/14 season, neither side has seen a draw when they have gone head to head in the league. That’s eight fixtures in a row without a single draw, but more importantly; the Eagles have won four of those eight as well as the Reds. Only recently has the trend started to shift back to equilibrium with these sides as Liverpool did the double over Palace last season, winning 2-1 at Selhurst Park and 1-0 at Anfield. That 1-0 win for the Reds was the only game in the last 10 which didn’t manage a both teams to score scenario between these two. This makes for some upcoming entertainment!
With all that said, Crystal Palace have managed to lead at some point in seven of the last ten matches so it clearly shows the Eagles are not scared of the Reds in any way. Or are they? Has that shifted now given Liverpool’s momentum over the last year or so? I guess we will find out but we may well see Liverpool having to do a job again the hard way. Selhurst Park hasn’t always been kind to Liverpool and they’ll have to treat this fixture with the utmost respect if they are going to get anything out of this.
As well as this, although they tossed aside West Ham in the last fixture, this will be a real test and talking point, whichever way the result goes. If they can beat a solid Crystal Palace side who are a threat in front of goal too we will know exactly where Liverpool stand after this match. New goal keeper Alisson Becker will be able to showcase his skills here, I can see the Eagles having chances that’s for sure, their pace and trickery in Zaha and their solid midfield with Milivojevic and McArthur looks a good outfit against a free-flowing Liverpool.
As for injury news, no fresh injury concerns for either side, with Crystal Palace without Connor Wickham, Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann, all to cruciate ligament ruptures and Liverpool will be without Dejan Lovren (stomach issue) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (cruciate ligament). Jordan Henderson will also most likely start on the bench again as he speeds up his match fitness after the break he deserved after World Cup duties.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Crystal Palace: 4-4-2 – Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Townsend, McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp; Zaha, Benteke
Liverpool: 4-3-3 – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Keita, Milner; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool. Goals from Wilfried Zaha, Sadio Mane (2) and Naby Keita. I just can’t see Liverpool being stopped short here, they are on a roll and although Crystal Palace will give this a very good go, I see them falling short.