By 90Min
August 18, 2017

Liverpool welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield this Saturday as both sides look to shake off a disappointing start to the Premier League season.

The Reds' defensive frailties showed no sign of improvement and they conceded a late leveler away at Watford despite fairly impressive displays from Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah in their front three.

Palace have won on their last three visits to Anfield, but Frank de Boer fared no better in his Premier League curtain-raiser, suffering a humiliating 3-0 loss to top-flight newcomers Huddersfield which once again had defensive errors aplenty.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at Anfield.


Classic Encounter

Image by Freddie Carty

'Crystanbul' may have been staged at Selhurst Park, but there is simply no classic encounter like the 3-3 draw played between the sides on the evening of 5th May.

Liverpool went into the game with their title hopes dented by a loss to Chelsea, but the slight chance of them bringing the trophy home were boosted by Joe Allen and Luis Suárez scoring either side of a Damien Delaney own goal to put the Reds 3-0 up after 55 minutes.

Knowing that a high goal difference would be the only way to take the title off Man City, Brendan Rodgers' side kept pressing forward. However, this eagerness to score proved to be their undoing.

A deflected effort from Delaney and quickfire strikes from Dwight Gayle all within nine minutes saw Palace fight back under the lights and all but erase Liverpool's hopes of a first Premier League title.


Key Battle


Christian Benteke vs Joel Matip & Dejan Lovren

Image by Freddie Carty

The former Liverpool frontman scored twice the last meeting between the two sides and is always the focal point of the Palace team.

Benteke scored 17 times in his debut season for the Eagles and, although de Boer's new 3-4-3 system looks less likely to focus on the old-school long ball tactic, it should be expected that the Belgian will fed plenty of aerial balls on Saturday.

While Lovren has had a fairly troubled Liverpool career so far, Matip is an experienced defender who should not be too troubled by a big target man. However, Liverpool have been poor at set-pieces for a long time now and showed no difference at Vicarage Road. If Liverpool want to win, they need their centre-backs to deal with Benteke in a professional way.


Team News

Victor Fraile/GettyImages

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho will remain absent despite earlier hopes that the playmaker would be fit for his first start of the season.

Nathaniel Clyne and Daniel Sturridge also haven't featured this season and are unlikely to be risked despite close to overcoming their respective hamstring and thigh complaints. As a result Liverpool are expected to name an unchanged side which will play their third game seven days.

For Palace, Wilfred Zaha will miss out after damaging his right knee against Huddersfield and is most likely to return in September. Andros Townsend could be a like-for-like replacement and midfielder Yohan Cabaye could feature are playing for the Under-23s in midweek.

Potential Liverpool Lineup: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané

Potential Crystal Palace Lineup: Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Riedewald; Ward, Milivojevic, Puncheon, Van Aanholt; Loftus-Cheek, Benteke, Townsend


Predictions

Image by Freddie Carty

With Liverpool so good going forward and so poor at the back, expect goals from both sides. If Palace's defence struggled against newcomers Huddersfield, then Liverpool should have enough quality to outscore the Eagles - either way it should be an interesting encounter.


Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace

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