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10 key things to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

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Liverpool can make it nine successive wins against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday knowing three points would take them top of the table, momentarily at least.

The Reds won an unforgettable Champions League clash with AC Milan midweek, but attention now returns to league action.

Here’s our match preview with 10 key things you need to know ahead of the game…

 

1. Palace make solid start under Vieira

NEWPORT, WALES - Sunday, May 26, 2019: Patrick Vieira gives a practical demonstration of defending the opposition half during day three of the Football Association of Wales National Coaches Conference 2019 at Dragon Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With former Reds disaster area Roy Hodgson retiring at the end of last season, Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira was drafted in as Palace’s new manager.

A comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Chelsea was followed by a drab goalless draw at home to Brentford, in what was a low-key start for the Frenchman.

There has been plenty of promise in the last two matches, however, with a 2-2 draw away to in-form West Ham an impressive result.

A 3-0 victory over Tottenham last Saturday was even more impressive, however, suggesting things are starting to click for Palace.

 

2. Edouard one to watch

Much of the focus may have been on Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut for Man United last weekend, but Palace saw their own attacking hero emerge on his first appearance.

Odsonne Edouard secured a late-summer move to Selhurst Park from Celtic, having scored an impressive 86 goals in 179 appearances for the Scottish giants.

The Frenchman was introduced as a second-half substitute against Spurs and swiftly netted a brace inside eight minutes, suggesting he could be a top-class signing.

Liverpool beware…

 

3. Who’s missing out for Liverpool?

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There are no new injury concerns for Jurgen Klopp, but that’s not to say there aren’t absentees for the Palace game.

Harvey Elliott‘s cruel dislocated ankle suffered at Leeds means he will miss around six months of action, in what is a major blow for both the player and Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino is still missing with a hamstring injury suffered against Chelsea last month, with Jurgen Klopp saying he is only pencilled in for team training next week.

In terms of selection, Klopp could opt to bring Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Sadio Mane back into the team after they were all rested on Wednesday, while Divock Origi is touch and go after cramp forced his exit in mid-week.

 

4. Debut for Konate?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp shuffled his defensive pack against Milan, giving Van Dijk the night off and pairing Joel Matip and Joe Gomez at centre-back.

The risk of playing Matip three times in six days means he could be left out on Saturday, potentially paving the way for Ibrahima Konate‘s debut.

The youngster has had to bide his time to date, not getting a single minute of action, but Klopp may consider playing him and the Dutchman together.

Liverpool’s transfer activity has been so quiet in recent times that it would be nice to see a debutant in action!

 

5. Palace’s starting XI could be…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2016: Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Palace aren’t playing in Europe this season, so they are afforded the luxury of often having week-long breaks between matches.

That means Vieira could decide to field a very similar starting lineup to the one that won convincingly at home to Spurs.

New centre-back duo Joachim Anderson and Marc Gueye are expected to start again, having been praised by Palace fan Alex Jonesin our opposition Q&A this week.

Youngster Conor Gallagher has had an excellent start to the season on loan from Chelsea and will likely play, while Eoudard could make his first start in place of ex-Red Christian Benteke.

Potential Crystal Palace XI: Guaita; Ward, Anderson, Gueye, Mitchell; Kouyate, McArthur, Gallagher; Ayew, Zaha, Edouard.

 

6. Eagles’ past success against Reds

While Liverpool have been dominant against Palace in recent years – they have won the last eight meetings – there is often an undercurrent of pessimism that exists when the fixture arrives.

That’s because of the PTSD that remains from results in the past, whether it be the excruciating 3-3 draw in 2013/14 or the loss at Anfield on Steven Gerrard’s final home game for Liverpool.

It has, admittedly, been a while since Palace threatened to cause an upset, but they are a team who always seem capable of raising their game at Anfield.

A narrow 4-3 win for Liverpool in the title-winning season is proof of that.

 

7. Madley takes charge

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 13, 2019: Referee Andy Madley during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unlike last year, when the world seemed to be against them, the Reds have not yet been undone by poor refereeing this season.

The hope is that that remains the case after Saturday’s game and the relatively unknown Andy Madley will take charge of proceedings.

This will be the first Liverpool game he has officiated in the Premier League, having refereed the 1-0 FA Cup win over Shrewsbury in 2019/20 and the penalty shootout triumph over Carlisle in the League Cup in 2015/16.

Frankly, his performance can’t be any worse than many of those we’ve seen at Anfield down the years.

 

8. Did you know?

Virgil van Dijk with Joel Matip (Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith)

On current form, there is no doubt that Van Dijk and Matip is Liverpool’s strongest pairing at the back.

The duo have looked imperious so far this season, conceding just once together and allowing the Reds to control matches.

In fact, Van Dijk and Matip are unbeaten in their last 34 league matches as a partnership, outlining how formidable they have been alongside one another.

Their only defeat was in their first game together away to Swansea way back in January 2018, but they haven’t looked back since.

It may be that Klopp again breaks up the Van Dijk-Matip axis against Palace, but there will be few complaints if he plays both.

 

9. “Sadio looks really good!”

The No. 10 has been far from prolific so far but his build-up work and the number of chances he creates has certainly caused no issue for Klopp.

“Sadio looks really good, he looks really sharp,” the manager said.

“I know we talk about these things when a striker misses some chances, but that he has the amount of chances he has, the amount of finishes he has, that’s actually the important stuff.”

And goals haven’t been a problem for Mane in the past against Palace as the last eight league meetings have all seen him on the scoresheet. The same again please Sadio.

 

10. Saturday 3pm blackout

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: A silhouette of television cameras during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is Liverpool’s first Saturday 3pm (BST) kickoff of the season, which means one thing: the game isn’t live on UK television.

Whether you like the rule or loathe it, you will have to find a way to track the match, unless you’re fortunate enough to be at Anfield.

Your best bet? Follow our matchday liveblog from 2.15pm, with Joanna Durkan keeping you up-to-date with the action.

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