Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
On the face of it, Crystal Palace’s recent form is a far cry from the confident start to the season that had them in the top six barely a month ago. No wins in four games definitely sounds bad – but then you have to bear in mind the idenitities of their last four opponents: Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester, and Chelsea. A single point, plucked against Arsenal, is Palace’s total return from those four matches.
So the good news is that this weekend sees the visit of Liverpool, currently leading the Premier League by eight points and reigning champions of Europe. The Reds have failed to win once in the league this season, when they were held to a draw at Old Trafford. On their last outing in the Premier League, they were 3-1 winners over Manchester City. Jurgen Klopp’s men are looking increasingly like champions-in-waiting – but could Palace have a surprise in store for them?
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool
Roy Hodgson won’t be telling his players that they just need to get through this match and then they can enjoy a five-game swing where their toughest opponent is Burnley. He might heavily imply it, but he won’t be telling them in so many words. As excellent as Liverpool have been when it matters, they have in truth been vulnerable here and there in the Premier League, with Aston Villa leading them for most of the Reds’ last away game. However, Klopp’s men still won, because these days that’s just what they do. Regrettably for the likeable Hodgson, it’s what they’ll do here, too.
Our recommended tip: BTTS – No
Palace fans will have watched in bemusement as Christian Benteke scored twice for Belgium last Tuesday, because what he did in 51 minutes for his country equalled his total league goal return for the Eagles since April 2018. The worrying thing for the Selhurst Park faithful is that Benteke is not an anomaly among their team’s strikers. They really need to get better at scoring goals, and will hope Jordan Ayew can fulfil his potential here – but up against Virgil van Dijk, he’s got a job on his hands. We’d say the even-money price on offer from Paddy Power for “No” on Both Teams To Score is worth taking.
Palace certainly like to give a good account of themselves against the top teams, and they ran Liverpool close on both occasions last season. It took goals late in both halves for the Reds to pick up three points at Selhurst Park in August 2018: James Milner and Sadio Mane on 45 and 93 minutes securing a 2-0 win.
At Anfield in January, Andros Townsend fired his side ahead on 34, but Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino turned things around with goals in the ten-minute spell after half time. Although James Tomkins levelled matters, another Salah finish and one from Mane rendered Max Meyer’s 95th-minute strike nothing more than a consolation.
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Players to watch: Patrick van Aanholt & Trent Alexander-Arnold
Although Manchester United parted with close to £50million to sign Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, they might have been better-advised paying the likely smaller fee to lure van Aanholt north. Had they done that, he certainly wouldn’t have been in position to burst forward and score the winning goal for Palace at Old Trafford, as he did earlier this season. As it is, van Aanholt is a quietly excellent left-back who regularly puts in standout performances but rarely gets the fanfare he deserves for them.
Speaking of high-quality full-backs, Alexander-Arnold is one of a pair at Anfield who are redefining what clubs expect from their lateral defenders. It’s one thing when a winger cuts infield and plays smart through-balls to the centre-forward. When “TAA” does it, it’s revolutionary and it means Liverpool can hurt opponents no matter who has the ball at the time. If Wilfried Zaha is absent for Palace, as he may well be, then Liverpool may find a lot of joy down their right-hand side.