Liverpool head to Crystal Palace looking for a 10th straight victory against the Eagles, with Patrick Vieira impressing after taking over from Roy Hodgson.
Jurgen Klopp‘s latest assignment is Sunday’s trip to Palace, for what has the potential to be a tricky afternoon in south London.
Here are 10 key things to know ahead of the game.
1. Impressive post-Hodgson spell
The reign of Hodgson concluded at the end of last season, heralding a new era at Selhurst Park.
In his place came Vieira – a far younger manager with more modern ideas – as he tried to adopt a fresh approach at Palace.
The Arsenal legend has caught the eye in his first half-season, with Palace no longer a team you would actively avoid watching.
They are 11th in the table going into Sunday’s game, and while that may not be hugely different to under Hodgson, their style of play has been far more refreshing.
2. Players to watch
In the past, Palace have felt almost embarrassingly dependant on Wilfried Zaha to create magic, but those days are long gone.
In fact, the Ivorian – who is on Africa Cup of Nations duty – may not even be a huge miss this weekend, such has been the form of others.
Exciting winger Michael Olise has also shone in recent weeks – incidentally, he was one of only three only players to get more assists than Harvey Elliott in the Championship last season, during an excellent spell with Reading.
Other players to look out for are solid centre-backing pair Joachim Anderson and Marc Guehi, as well as the dangerous Eberechi Eze.
3. Possible Palace lineup
As mentioned, Zaha is away at AFCON, having earned a recall to the Ivory Coast squad last month.
Cheikhou Kouyate is in the same boat, representing Senegal, but Jordan Ayew is available having been knocked out with Ghana earlier this week.
There are no new injuries for Vieira to worry about – James Tomkins and James McArthur are still out – meaning they could field the same starting lineup that drew at Brighton in their last outing.
Predicted Palace XI: Butland; Ward, Anderson, Guehi, Mitchell; Hughes, Gallagher, Schlupp; Olise, Eze, Edouard
4. Who’s out for Liverpool?
Liverpool will still have to make do without Thiago on Sunday, with the Spaniard now set to return after the upcoming international break.
5. Predicted Reds XI
While no injuries emerged against Arsenal, the quick turnaround could lead to Klopp rotating his squad this weekend.
Matip’s potential absence means Ibrahima Konate could come into the back line – he could start even if his team-mate is fit.
6. Klopp respectful of Palace
Speaking to the media on Friday, Klopp admitted he is expecting a different challenge to the one that faced Liverpool last season when they won 7-0 at Selhurst Park:
“That was a one-off! These days happen, it’s a freak of nature and it doesn’t happen usually. Every shot we hit [went in]. They’ve changed and improved. They look like a really stable team now.
“It’s a really good Premier League team with a few really unlucky results I would say. We expect a really tough team.”
A repeat result wouldn’t go amiss, lads!
7. Liverpool’s superb record vs. the Eagles
The disastrous 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park in 2013/14 may forever be brought up, but Liverpool have an exceptional record against Palace of late.
In fact, the Reds are looking to seal a 10th consecutive win over the Eagles on Sunday.
Four of those have come away from home, starting with respective 2-1 and 2-0 triumphs in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Then came the dramatic 2-1 victory in the title-winning season, thanks to Roberto Firmino‘s late winner, before the 7-0 annihilation in December 2020.
It felt like Liverpool were going to be champions again after that game – sigh…
8. Did you know?
While Steven Gerrard (99) is way out in front, there is an exciting race to be the second Liverpool player to register 50 Premier League assists.
Five current players are next in the running after the legendary former skipper, with Firmino leading the way with 45.
Who are you backing to get to their half-century first?
9. Friend hopefully not the enemy!
Kevin Friend has been confirmed as the referee for Sunday’s game, while Craig Pawson is on VAR duty.
This is the 50-year-old’s first Liverpool match of the season, with his last outing involving the Reds the 2-0 win at home to Southampton back in May.
10. “And it’s live…”
The weekend action is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm (GMT), with kickoff at 2pm.
TIA’s matchday live blog will also be live from 1.15pm, with Dan Clubbe tasked with keeping you entertained throughout the afternoon.
Come on you Reds!