Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Both Liverpool and Crystal Palace had opening Premier League weekends that neither would describe as ideal: Palace definitely more so than Liverpool, but both will be looking to improve this weekend with a feisty affair expected in the contest for three valuable points at Anfield.
This fixture has thrown up a few surprises in its time but none more so than on the fifth of May 2014 when Palace came back from 3-1 down via a Dwight Gayle brace to seriously dent Liverpool’s title hopes, and I can see goals this weekend too.
Last week was one of mixed feelings for the Merseysiders, the counter-attacking play was classic Klopp and was absolutely gorgeous to watch, the front three of Salah, Firminho, and Mane linked up beautifully and each contributed with a goal of his own.
However, the same defensive frailties that plagued them last year are evidently still there and conceding three against Watford; albeit a strong Watford team, was not part of the plan and they cannot go on conceding at that rate throughout the season.
Their hunt for a centre back continues and with the Virgil van Dijk transfer looking less likely to happen as every day goes by, they may be hard pushed to find someone of respectable quality before the window shuts on September 1st.
The Anfield faithful shouldn’t be disheartened though: if they can get hold of a quality holding midfielder and centre back they look like they could be a real force. There is however the looming shadow of one Mr Coutinho. He has now handed in a transfer request thus foregoing any form of loyalty bonus, but Liverpool are not keen to sell. It is believed that if they do they would go in for Pulisic at Dortmund, but only time will tell.
Well well well, Crystal Palace, who would’ve seen that coming? The club took such an impact on Sam Allardyce that he had to retire from football, and then they bring in a manager who’s philosophy and style of play are completely against the traditions of that football club in the form of Frank de Boer, and what does that bring?
A resounding 3-0 home defeat by newly promoted Huddersfield, and they were indeed well beaten. Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke were isolated and cut off and their defence just could not handle the pace and power of Mounie with the trickery and vision of Aaron Mooy supplying him, Palace looked all over the place.
De Boer lasted only 85 days in his previous job at Inter Milan but before that he guided Ajax to four successive Eredivise titles, so which one is the real Frank? He has the right ideas undoubtedly but is the place to try and implement them a club that thrives on counter attacking football based around fast tricky wingers?
I’m sure Palace fans would love free flowing, Arsenal-esque, passing football, but not at the expense of results. I fear for Palace this season and it’s a shame – even though I’m a Chelsea fan, Crystal Palace have always provided entertainment and I would love for them to become a Premier League stalwart, let’s hope and pray.
For me Clive, this game is going to be high-scoring but one sided, Liverpool’s attack will be too much and I’m going with 3-1 to the Reds.
Written by Olly Norman.