Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Preview – Reds arrive at Selhurst Park back in their rightful place at the top of the league

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THE DETAILS

Venue – Selhurst Park, London

Referee – Jonathan Moss

Date & Time – Saturday, December 19th @ 12:30

Current Odds – Crystal Palace 11/2, Draw 10/3, Liverpool 1/2

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Liverpool battled to the last minute and got their just rewards in beating Spurs on Wednesday night at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp’s Mentality Monsters dominated Jose Mourinho’s pretenders to the crown for the most part but had to depend on the fantastic Bobby Firmino powering home a late header to secure the points. It also seems The Reds came through the game relatively unscathed, without any new injuries to add to the list, that is.

Roll on Saturday and let’s hope Klopp’s Mighty Redmen come away from Selhurst Park with the win.

FORM

Crystal Palace Form

Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace have not lost in their last three games, winning 5-1 at West Brom and drawing 1-1 both at home to Spurs and, most recently, away to West Ham United on Wednesday night.

The Eagles are currently 12th in the Premier League with 18 points from their opening 13 games.

Palace finished 14th last season so Hodgson and his men are on target for a similar or better outcome in this campaign so far.

Liverpool Form

Liverpool managed to get a huge win under their belts at Anfield on Wednesday night. Jürgen Klopp’s side beat Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side to leapfrog the Londoners and go top of the league by three points.

The Reds have still only lost one league game this season – that 7-2 drubbing at the hands of Aston Villa.

TEAM NEWS

Crystal Palace Team News

Christian Benteke will miss the visit of his former club after receiving his marching orders on Wednesday night against West Ham. Benteke had put Palace ahead in the first half only to be sent off after getting his second yellow card in the 70th minute of the game.

Connor Wickham, Martin Kelly, Wayne Hennessey and Nathan Ferguson are all out through injury while another former Red, Mamadou Sakho, will undergo a late fitness test to see if he is available for selection.

Roy Hodgson favours a 4-4-2 formation and I expect to see more of the same shape against Liverpool.

Liverpool Team News

Jürgen Klopp has not got much room for change with his starting eleven this week. Klopp did not make any substitutions in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Spurs on Wednesday night. Naby Keïta had been ready to come on in the dying seconds but the match ended before the midfielder could make an appearance.

I think Keïta may be the only change to Liverpool’s starting lineup at Palace. Keïta could start to take some of the pressure off the excellent Curtis Jones. Jones, still only 19, needs to have his game-time managed efficiently, no matter how good the Scouser already is.

Liverpool’s injury list currently consists of the following names: Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Joël Matip, James Milner, Thiago Alcântara, Xherdan Shaqiri, Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas.

We did have some rare good news relating to injuries this week when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was named on the bench for the Spurs game. ‘The Ox’ is likely to feature at some stage of the second half against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Rhys Williams was impressive against Spurs, given the circumstances. He may well be called upon again this weekend as Klopp is unlikely to risk Matip when there is any potential of worsening an existing back complaint.

Sadio Mané is still struggling to find form but Klopp is likely to stick with the Senegal international on the left of the front three.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2) – Guaita; Clyne, Kouyaté, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Schlupp, Riedewald, McArthur, Eze; Ayew, Zaha

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams R, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keïta; Salah, Firmino, Mané

WHEN THEY LAST MET

Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 4-0 at Anfield back in June. It was the win that would eventually seal the title for The Reds as Manchester City fell at Chelsea the following night. The goalscorers that night were Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mané.

Last season’s clash at Selhurst Park ended in a 2-1 victory for Liverpool. Mané put Jürgen Klopp’s men in front before a Wilfried Zaha equaliser looked to have earned a point for The Eagles. However, a composed finish from Roberto Firmino with five minutes remaining won the game for Liverpool.

PREDICTION

CRYSTAL PALACE 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL

Let’s hope this tired Liverpool side is buoyed by their huge victory over Spurs in midweek. Selhurst Park is never an easy hunting ground and Saturday’s fixture will be no different for The Reds. I think Liverpool will just about have it in their tank to take this game. Hopefully…

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