LIVERPOOL VS CRYSTAL PALACE: PREVIEW
Liverpool are back in action on Monday night when they host Crystal Palace. The Reds will be hoping to get their season off and running after dropping points at Fulham last week. Here’s a quick preview of the game.
The Reds were well below their best at Craven Cottage and got rightly laid into by the manager post match. They will want to show a response, and what better way to do so than infront of the Anfield faithful.
It’s been a long summer without a game at the famous ground, with the last competitive home fixture being the 3-1 victory over Wolves eighty four days ago. Home comforts will be exactly that for Jürgen Klopp’s injury stricken side.
Barely two games in and the Reds are already five points behind Manchester City. Victory will cut that gap down to two of course, but it’s a clear warning sign that any more slip ups will be punished ruthlessly by a relentless opponent.
It won’t be straightforward stroll in the park against Patrick Vieira’s outfit. Palace lost their opening game at home to Arsenal but can count themselves slightly unlucky to not come away with at least a point.
They registered the same number of attempts, shots on target and big chances as the Gunners, even recording a higher xG. Poor finishing let them down in the end and they were made to pay for it in the end.
Liverpool faced Palace on their pre-season tour of Asia where they cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory in Singapore. The Eagles were without a number of their regulars though and will pose a sterner test this time.
They possess a couple of rapid attackers in the likes of Zaha, Eze, Mateta, Edouard to name a few. This will aid a counter attacking approach on Monday night. Even with Vieira implementing an expansive style of play, the Eagles know they will see less of the ball at Anfield.
It should be a good game to watch. Palace won’t just sit back and soak pressure, they will hatch a plan to exploit the spaces Liverpool leave behind on the counter. Tactically, it should be intriguing to see how both sides carefully walk the tightrope of risk/reward.
Long gone are the days when Palace were seen as a bit of a bogey side for the Reds. In fact since a Benteke double saw them leave Anfield with all three points back in 2016/17, Klopp’s side have won each subsequent meeting.
It’s ten straight league victories, with the Reds putting thirty goals past the Eagles and conceding just six. In a way, they are the perfect opponents after the disappointment of last week. An eleventh successive victory will lift spirits once more.
It was all rainbows and sunshine after the Community Shield triumph, but that has slowly given way to doom and gloom amongst a section of the fanbase owing to the performance and result at Fulham, coupled with the injury woes.
A strong showing and result on Monday night and all will be right with the world again. That’s the fickle nature of this sport unfortunately. Or more accurately, that’s the fickle nature of this new age of fandom. That’s a conversation for another day.
For Liverpool, it’s quite a number of players unavailable due to injury. Kelleher is still out with the injury he picked up on international duty. Summer signing Calvin Ramsay also remains out, as does Konaté who picked up a knee injury against Strasbourg.
Joel Matip is a doubt after picking up what was described as a groin strain in training. Left back Kostas Tsimikas is expected to be available however, after missing the trip to Fulham with a sore knee.
Midfield is the area worst hit by the injury bug. Thiago went off with a hamstring injury last week and has been ruled out for six to eight weeks. That has seen him join Curtis Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines, with the latter not expected back till October.
Upfront, Diogo Jota remains a week or two away from returning to fitness after suffering a setback in pre-season. With zero pre-season minutes under his belt, he will be slowly eased in when he does return.
For Palace, the game comes too soon for Michael Olise who has been out with a foot injury. James Tomkins (muscle), James McArthur (groin) and Jack Butland (broken wrist) are all out.
The Uruguayan has had two goalscoring cameos and looks primed for his first start. If he does get the nod, expect him to be heavily involved as he looks to score on what is his home debut. He’s registered the most shots in both of his appearances so far, expect him to have a few pops at goal.
The 29 year old is coming off the best goalscoring season of his career to date, netting 14 league goals last season. He’s grown as a player and continues to carry that threat he’s always had, but dosed with a better end product. His battle against Trent will be one to watch.
The 19 year old has come off the bench to good effect in both games this season and could get a start here. If he does, the onus will be on him to provide more cutting edge from midfield. The midfield is crying out for a player like that, it’s up to Harvey to answer the call, especially after signing a new deal with the club this week.
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