Jurgen Klopp’s fun bus rolls into London this week for the trip to Crystal Palace, and it is no wonder the German is smiling so much at the moment. This Liverpool side he has created has faults, sure, but their ability to put the ball in the net almost at will Is staggering.
Alongside the 2-1 win over Spurs in the EFL Cup in midweek, the Reds have put two past West Brom, two by Swansea, five past Hull, two by Chelsea and four past Leicester; in fact, the 0-0 draw with Manchester United is the only real blot on the copybook. An excusion can be made there too given that Jose Mourinho parked his sturdiest bus in the way of the Anfield goal.
What we’re trying to say is that this Liverpool side is fit (a lack of European football is helping), firing on all cylinders and ready to outscore any opponent whose path they cross.
This week that opponent is Crystal Palace; a strange old side who after a three-game winning streak earlier in the season have now failed to win any of their last trio. Can the Reds heap on more misery?
Liverpool Team News
The EFL Cup clash in midweek afforded Klopp the opportunity to rest weary legs, offer some of his fringe players a much-needed start (Mignolet, Lucas, Origi etc) and slowly introduce a previously injured ace, Gigi Wijnaldum, back into the first-team fold.
The result was good, the performance excellent and the hunger shown by Daniel Sturridge, who bagged a brace, to impress Klopp was a joy to behold. Has the England man done enough to dislodge Roberto Firmino up front? Possibly not, but it will certainly have given the German food for thought.
We expect that Klopp will go with the tried-and-tested starting eleven that has given him so much joy this term:
Crystal Palace Form
What an unpredictable outfit Alan Pardew’s men are. Even in amongst their unusual form, however, we can find a clear pattern of play:
- August – W0 D1 L2 GF1 GA3
- September – W3 D1 L0 GF10 GA5
- October – WO D0 L2 GF1 GA4
Clearly, Palace are a side that suffers from peaks and troughs of form, and that is actually exacerbated by the presence of Christian Benteke; an outstanding but streaky goalscorer. His three goals this season all came in September, and when he hasn’t netted his side have struggled.
You want to make your home ground as much of a fortress as possible too, but that isn’t exactly the case at Selhurst Park for the Eagles. They’ve only won one of four there this season, with points dropped against West Brom, Bournemouth and West Ham, and don’t forget that in 2015/16 only the Cherries and Aston Villa had a worse home record in the Premier League.
It could be time for Pardew to call for that exorcism of Selhurst Park….
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Betting Tips
When writing these previews we try to use precision, reason and logic when selecting the accompanying betting tips, and yet often the best tips are those that are staring you right in the face: here, Liverpool to win and Both Teams to Score, at 23/10 with Betfair, is the obvious play.
Why? Well, Liverpool have scored in five of their last six matches at an average of 2.50 per 90 minutes, and as we have kind of alluded to already we expect them to win this match.
But things haven’t gone quite so well defensively for the Reds, and question marks about their ability to defend crosses/set pieces means that Palace, with Benteke, Scott Dann et al, will have a chance of finding the net. Wilfried Zaha, running at James Milner, is also a slight concern.
What is appealing about Liverpool is that much of their best work comes down the flanks, as this graphic from the BBC concerning last week’s 2-1 win over West Brom attests:
Now, Palace’s wingers – Zaha and Andros Townsend – aren’t known for their ability in tracking back, which means that Coutinho and Mane should have plenty of isolation against their markers.
It is Coutinho in particular that has impressed so far this campaign, and he will be looking to add to his tally of four goals on Saturday evening. At 15/8 with SkyBet, he is worth having onside in the Anytime Goalscorer market.
And finally, a couple of small wagers on correct scores. Taking all of the above into account, Liverpool to win 2-1 (8/1, BetVictor) or 3-1 (14/1, bet365) is our ‘Dutching’ opportunity.