Venue – Anfield
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Saturday, August 19th @ 15:00 BST
Crystal Palace got off to a very disappointing start under new boss, Frank de Boer, last week. The Eagles went down to a heavy 3-0 home defeat to Premier League new boys, Huddersfield Town. De Boer won’t be looking forward to facing another German manager’s men this Saturday. David Wagner was the best man at Jurgen Klopp’s wedding so I’m sure Klopp and the Huddersfield boss have been in touch this week to discuss what Liverpool need to do to break Crystal Palace down on Saturday. However, De Boer arrives in the Premier League with an impressive managerial record from his time at Ajax, especially. It remains to be seen whether Anfield, on Saturday, will witness the continued struggle of a new manager finding his feet or will the Reds be the untimely victims of a Palace backlash. They are bound to be wounded after such a deflating result last week and the sooner they can put things right, the better for the new gaffer. De Boer does not want to be feeling the pressure already.
Liverpool were involved in that topsy-turvy encounter at Vicarage Road which finished 3-3 with Watford. On Tuesday night they then travelled to Germany and achieved a very satisfying first leg victory over Hoffenheim in the Champions League playoff tie.
This Saturday will be the first taste of competitive football at Anfield this season and Klopp and his men will be hoping to hit the ground running. And I really think they will.
The emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold in the first week of the season (after an impressive pre-season, too) has been the main positive in what is a turbulent time for the Reds. How nice it must be for Klopp to talk about TAA rather than the circumstances surrounding Coutinho, Virgil van Dijk, or Naby Keita.
Zaha has a slight knee injury but should be okay to start. Connor Wickham and Bakary Sako are both still out. Cabaye and James McArthur both still have knocks and as yet it’s unclear if they will be available for selection. If Zaha is indeed fit then I expect Palace to line out with much the same selection as they did for the Huddersfield defeat.
For Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge is hoping to be available again, while Lallana and Clyne are still out. Coutinho’s situation is dragging on and on and I don’t expect him to be available for Saturday either.
I think Klopp will field the same starting eleven for the third match in a row. He may change things around for Hoffenheim next Wednesday night but up until then, the first team will probably remain the same.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mané
Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Riedewald, Ward, Milivojevic, Puncheon, van Aanholt, Loftus-Cheek, Zaha, Benteke
When they last met
Palace have been Liverpool’s bogey team in recent years. In fact, Liverpool have lost the last three league meetings between the sides at Anfield.
Both teams have been getting the desired result on the road in recent years, Palace at Anfield, and Liverpool at Selhurst Park.
The most recent matchup was in Asia last month for the Premier League Trophy, with Liverpool winning 2-0 on that occasion.
I think the Reds will be very happy with the Hoffenheim win during the week and as a result, they may perform with a little less pressure on their backs this weekend. The obvious bet for such a game would be for Liverpool to win and both teams to score. I think this is definitely the case on Saturday.
Salah will be itching to get familiar with the Anfield turf, and speaking of which, the newly laid pitch will help to ensure Liverpool keep that ball fizzing about.
Liverpool 4 – 1 Crystal Palace