After a resounding victory over West Ham in their opening Premier League game, Liverpool encounter a tough trip to Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
Monday, August 20, 2018 – 8pm (BST)
Referee: Michael Oliver
It couldn’t have been a much nicer beginning to the campaign for the Reds if they had tried, with the Hammers swatted aside 4-0 at Anfield.
Liverpool barely even got out of third gear for much of the game, but their attacking quality and running power was too much for their beleaguered opponents.
Naby Keita enjoyed an excellent debut, Alisson was rarely troubled on his Reds bow and Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane hit the ground running with goalscoring showings.
Next up for Jurgen Klopp and his players is a journey south to Selhurst Park—historically a testing match for any team.
Under the bright lights and in front of a fervent home support, this will be an entirely different test for Liverpool.
They are a side overflowing with confidence and rhythm right now, however, and no team in the country will fancy their chances against them.
Roy Hodgson is bound to be revved up against his former club, as will Christian Benteke, but this is the type of fixture the Reds must show their title credentials in.
It won’t be plain sailing and mental fortitude will be required, but can Palace really envisage stopping such a wonderful attacking side?
This fixture last season: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
There are no new injury worries for Klopp, although Liverpool must still make do without Dejan Lovren.
Joe Gomez will continue alongside Virgil van Dijk, as the 21-year-old looks to be the centre-back spot his own, but Joel Matip should return to provide support on the bench.
Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are all expected to be start, although Nathaniel Clyne is an option at right-back up against the dangerous Wilfried Zaha.
In midfield, Klopp must decide whether to stick with Keita, Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner, or bring in Fabinho or Jordan Henderson, or both.
There is every chance that the manager will keep things the same, given the manner in which the midfielders performed against West Ham.
Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino are all fit and raring to go.
Alberto Moreno, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge will be among the options in reserve, but Ragnar Klavan and Marko Grujic have both left since last weekend.
Hodgson, like Klopp, has a fit squad to choose from, with Palace potentially unchanged from their impressive 2-0 win at Fulham last Saturday.
Last 5 Away to Crystal Palace (All Competitions)
Won 2-1 – March, 2018 (Milivojevic pen; Mane, Salah)
Won 4-2 – October, 2016 (McArthur x2; Can, Lovren, Matip, Firmino)
Won 2-1 – March, 2016 (Ledley; Firmino, Benteke pen)
Won 2-1 – February, 2015 (Campbell; Sturridge, Lallana)
Lost 3-1 – November, 2014 (Gayle, Ledley, Jedinak; Lambert)
Away fans’ pubs: The Prince George in Thornton Heath
One piece of advice for visiting fan: Visit a Morley’s in south London!
Did You Know?
Mane has scored 13 goals in his last 18 appearances for Liverpool, dating back to his hat-trick away to Porto in February.
While Salah and Firmino have earned more praise, the 26-year-old has arguably been as devastating as anyone in the last six months.
Speaking at Melwood, Klopp outlined the threat posed by Zaha and praised Palace as an all-round unit:
“He’s very important. Last year was probably the best example for it.
“But I really think with all the results they had, the confidence grew a lot in the last year. They were very consistent with results.
“Zaha scored, yes, but they played real football. And three or four of their new players I think didn’t start—Kouyate for example, Max Meyer for example.
“Milvojevic and McArthur are doing well, Townsend is a fantastic player, Schlupp is in a slightly different position.
“It’s just a good football team, they have the pace on the wings and these things. Both full-backs are quick, very experienced centre halves.
“It’s a really good team. I think they are pretty happy that Wilfried signed a new contract!”
TV & Live Blog Info
The match is part of Sky Sports’ first Monday Night Football of the season, with coverage getting underway at 7pm (BST). Kickoff is at 8pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog, with all the buildup before the game and minute-by-minute updates during it.