Can the Reds make it 11 matches unbeaten? – Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool Preview

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Liverpool are looking to win their sixth Premier League game in seven on Saturday, as they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool

Saturday, October 29, 2016 – 5:30pm (BST)
Selhurst Park
Premier League
Referee: Andre Marriner

Life as a Liverpool supporter couldn’t be much better right now.

The Reds are playing some wonderful football under a world-class manager, and they are picking up victories at the same time.

Having knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the League Cup on Tuesday night, attention now turns back to Premier League commitments.

Trips to Crystal Palace are never straightforward, and under the Selhurst Park floodlights, a fervent atmosphere will be created.

Jurgen Klopp had the luxury of resting all of his key players for the Spurs game, so his side should be in perfect physical condition against one capable of causing any team problems.

A Liverpool win would see them at least stay level on points with leaders Man City, but Klopp will hope their rivals slip up earlier in the day.

Palace, meanwhile, have had a disappointing 2016, winning just five times in 28 attempts in the league.

They have failed to win in their last three top-flight games, although their current 11th-placed standing is fairly solid.

Everything points towards Liverpool seeing off their opponents, but the Premier League has shown time and time again that games of this ilk are potential banana skins.

Last Meeting: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool: 10 men Reds take three points

 

Opposition Q & A

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 8, 2015: Crystal Palace's manager Alan Pardew during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We spoke to Palace fan Joel Buckwell ahead of the game, getting his thoughts on the Eagles’ recent form and their chances of victory this weekend.

It has been a tough 2016 for Palace—are you happy with the job Alan Pardew is doing? And what have you made of their start to this season?

Yes. Apart from the FA Cup run, 2016 hasn’t been all fun and games at Palace, but I think this summer’s transfer window has helped turn things around. Personally, I’m happy with Pardew as he’s brought in quality players who have strengthened the squad.

It feels like we now have a fully functioning Premier League squad with decent players not guaranteed a start, whereas the last few seasons we’ve had a strong 11 or 12 with a bench lacking the same level, hence haemorrhaging points after injuries at the end of last season.

Pardew has a lot of history with Palace and chairman Steve Parish seems to really back him. I hope he sticks around for many years to come and helps take us to greater heights.

How has Christian Benteke done since joining in the summer?

It took him a few games to find his feet, but now we’re seeing what he’s all about and we’re reaping the rewards. I know he wasn’t a favourite at Liverpool, but we play a style that caters to his strengths.

We’ve been crying out for a strong, 15-goal-a-season lone striker with aerial presence for a while now. I think he’ll keep building on what he’s already started this season. I just hope he practices taking penalties in training!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 24, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Hull City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Saturday in mind, which Liverpool players are you most wary of?

Philippe Coutinho! I feel that our defence can take wave after wave of Liverpool attacks, especially with Scott Dann looking to be fit again, but Coutinho’s long-range “worldy” strikes from outside the box are just unstoppable.

We all know Jordan Henderson has it in his locker too. I hope Mandanda, or “STEVE” as he’s known at Selhurst Park, has a game to remember.

What’s your prediction?

It’s never easy for you boys at Selhurst—I really think we are in for great game.

Goals are almost guaranteed on Saturday with your high pressing attacking game and us being so good on the counter. It’s a score draw from me, 2-2 or 3-3 (with a hint of bias).

I think Benteke feels that he has a point to prove against his old club, and especially Klopp. Fingers crossed he manages to keep up his recent form and find the back of the net.

 

Selhurst Park

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 14, 2015: A general view of Selhurst Park before the FA Cup 5th Round match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 26,309

Away fans’ pubs: Pubs in Thornton Heath are more accommodating to away fans than Selhurst or South Norwood now the Spoons in South Norwood has closed down. Flora Sandes is the Spoons in Thornton Heath and you should have no problem getting in there and it is right opposite the train station.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 22, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal against West Bromwich Albion with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As mentioned, Klopp’s first-choice starting lineup were all left out against Spurs, ensuring they are all raring to go for the trip to south London.

Daniel Sturridge did all he could to force his way into the team, scoring both goals against Mauricio Pochettino’s side, but he will still likely have to settle for a place on the bench, along with Divock Origi.

The frightening attacking trident of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino should all be recalled, as is likely with Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana.

James Milner‘s health will be closely monitored, with the 30-year-old missing Tuesday’s game through illness—if he isn’t deemed fit to feature, Alberto Moreno could keep his place.

Georginio Wijnaldum is back fully fit again, and having impressed in midweek, there is every chance he will take Emre Can‘s place in midfield.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 9, 2015: Crystal Palace's Jason Puncheon in action against Manchester United during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Meanwhile, Pardew is sweating over the fitness Jason Puncheon after missing last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Leicester City with a calf issue.

Centre-back Scott Dann is back in contention, however, having recovered from a hamstring injury.

Loic Remy, Jonathan Benteke and Pape Soares are all out for the foreseeable future.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 25, 2016: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the second goal against Tottenham Hotspur with team-mate Georginio Wijnaldum during the Football League Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 2-1 vs. West Brom
Drew 0-0 vs. Man United
Won 2-1 vs. Swansea City
Won 5-1 vs. Hull City

Crystal Palace – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 3-1 vs. Leicester City
Lost 1-0 vs. West Ham
Drew 1-1 vs. Everton
Won 3-2 vs. Sunderland
Lost 2-0 vs. Southampton

 

Klopp’s View

Klopp discussed the importance of keeping his entire squad happy, saying he always welcomes the input of his players:

“I’m always honest and I say my door and the door in the team is always open but it’s about performing.

“We have always this agreement: work hard, don’t talk too much, win games. If a player doesn’t want to be happy I can’t keep him happy, but if he wants to be happy it’s quite easy for me to keep him happy.

“Being happy only when you make 48 games, it’s difficult for each player. To feel you are important for the team, that’s 100 per cent true for each player in the squad. I think it’s not too difficult to be happy in our team.”

 

One to Watch: Christian Benteke

Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke

Players coming up against their former clubs is often a dangerous proposition, and Benteke will be raring to go on Saturday.

The striker had a disappointing spell as a Liverpool player last season, and it was obvious early on that Klopp didn’t see a future for him at Anfield.

What cannot be denied is that Benteke is a good striker, though, and his power, aerial threat and eye for goal could cause the likes of Matip and Lovren real problems.

Benteke has already scored three goals in his first seven appearances for the Eagles—don’t bet against him adding to that tally this weekend.

 

Odds & TV Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 22, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp applauds the supporters after the 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are the strong favourites to win on Saturday, as has invariably been the case during this excellent run of form.

Klopp’s men are 3/4 to beat Palace, with the hosts 15/4 for the win and the draw priced at 3/1.

Coverage is live on BT Sport 1 from 5pm (BST), with kick-off at 5:30pm, while you can also follow This is Anfield’s live match centre on the night.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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