Crystal Palace vs Liverpool: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Crystal Palace are somewhat of a bogey team for Liverpool, having only won five and drawn one of the 14 clashes between the two sides in league and cup competitions since the turn of the century. That said, their last two victories over the Eagles have come at Selhurst Park, with now Palace forward Christian Benteke scoring the decisive goal from the penalty spot in the previous encounter. The Belgian forward is likely to be at the centre of any storyline on Saturday evening too.
Palace come into the tie without a win in over a month off the back of a heavy defeat at Leicester City last weekend and defeat at home when they played West Ham. Their last point was on Merseyside in an impressive performance against Everton with Christian Benteke scoring the equaliser. In the two games since then, goals have been hard to come by with Benteke missing a penalty against the Hammers and Yohan Cabaye’s consolation goal the only evidence to show from 24 shots over the past two games. The only other time Palace have played a top five team this season was a trip to White Hart Lane in August, with Spurs running out 1-0 winners, so it remains to be seen if the Eagles will be able to withstand the attacking force of Liverpool.
Liverpool come into the game having won their last two games, against Tottenham in the EFL Cup and West Brom in the Premier League by two goals to one. A draw with Manchester United last Monday was the first time since August that the Reds failed to win as they continue their fine start to the season which has seen them become somewhat unexpected title contenders after some smart summer recruitment by Jurgen Klopp, with Phillipe Coutinho in particular enjoying a good run of form of late. Their final nervy ten minutes against the Baggies last weekend will give Palace, particularly given their weakness at set pieces, one of Alan Pardew’s side key strengths.
Crystal Palace predicted starting XI Liverpool predicted starting XI
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Alan Pardew will only face one real dilemma as he must opt whether to risk James Tomkins or give Scott Dann a return to the starting line-up. Some fans have been hoping for Connor Wickham to partner Christian Benteke upfront but the former Newcastle boss is unlikely to make such a change up against the attacking might of Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp will face two main selection headaches, with tough calls on whether to give Georgino Wijnaldum a return to the starting eleven in the Premier League after proving his fitness in midweek against Tottenham, or whether to stick with Emre Can, and whether Daniel Sturridge’s fine display should earn him a recall. The most likely option is that Klopp will stick with the starting eleven which beat West Brom with Sturridge on the bench again.
Injuries and Suspensions
James Tomkins is a doubt for this weekend’s clash after picking up a hamstring strain in defeat to Leicester last time out, and whilst he is expected to be available to Alan Pardew it seems unlikely that he will be risked from kick off, particularly up against a pacey front three with superb movement. Jason Puncheon is also likely to continue to be sidelined by a calf injury with no expected date of return as yet, whilst Pardew will remain without three players with long term injuries in the form of Pape Souare, Loic Remy and Jonathan Benteke.
Liverpool are nearing a completely fully fit first team squad, with Joe Gomez the only absence as he continues to rebuild fitness after over a year out with knee ligament and Achilles injuries. Jordan Henderson will return from the suspension he served which saw him miss the Tottenham clash in the EFL Cup, with Georgino Wijnaldum fit enough to start a league game for the first time since picking up a hip injury on international duty.
It could be a lot tighter than many expect, particularly given the record between the two sides and that many of Palace’s strengths, such as set pieces and aerial ability, are Liverpool’s weaknesses. That said, the Reds attack is likely to prove to be far too potent for Palace to handle seeing as they are yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League. For that reason, we can’t see past a Liverpool win.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.
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