First Big Test of the Season Beckons
After an excellent opening game for both teams, this week’s fixture will prove to be a significant challenge to defense and resolve.
Former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has worked wonders since taking over Palace, and their players and tactics represent a relative blueprint for how to frustrate and take points off of Jürgen Klopp’s team.
After City’s demolition of Huddersfield, it’s time for the Reds to prove that they can get over the hurdle of teams that defend deep so we can keep up with the leaders.
Team News and Predicted Lineup
Crystal Palace made only a handful of signings over the summer to flesh out their squad; Jordan Ayew and Max Meyer being the most notable, but none are likely to start this game as they are lacking match fitness.
Regardless, Palace will field the same strong team as they did last week when they impressively defeated Fulham at Craven Cottage. Absentees such as Scott Dann are unlikely to come back in even if they are deemed fit.
Cheikhou Kouyate might be the only fringe player to get a look in after an impressive cameo last week and the fact that he is more mobile and physical than James McArthur which could be cause for consideration in Hodgson’s pre-game thoughts.
Team News and Predicted Lineup
Liverpool fans were shocked this week when fan-favourite backup player Ragnar Klavan was sold to Calgiliari. He wouldn’t have factored into this game but he was a handy squad player and his presence could be missed as the season rolls on.
There’s no fresh injury news coming out of Liverpool, meaning that the lineup should be more or less the same as against West Ham. The only exception being the expected debut of Fabinho ahead of either James Milner or Gini Wijnaldum.
Given the fact that Palace will make life much more difficult than the Hammers will, Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge could feature much earlier than they did last week.
The main themes of this game are twofold: Will Liverpool be able to breakdown Palace’s deep defence, and will the Reds be able to handle the quick counters and high balls that they’ll be peppered with?
Alisson and Fabinho, if he starts, will demonstrate why we spent so much money on them as they will have to take on extra responsibilities. Wilfried Zaha is the biggest threat, but Christian Benteke will be keen to make an impression on his old club.
The fullbacks of both teams will have their work cut-out for them as their opposite numbers possess immense pace and quality on the ball. This game will ultimately be decided by who defends better, despite the attacking prowess that will be on display.
This is a tough fixture for any side, but it’s especially difficult for Liverpool as Palace have many quick, powerful players who thrive on the counter and putting in crosses for Big Ben to nod home.
However, we are Liverpool, we shouldn’t be afraid of anyone and with our new signings we should be able to beat anyone, home or away.
Palace will make life difficult, but Naby Keita will be the difference as they will struggle to simultaneously snuff him out in the midfield whilst ensuring our front three have no space to run into. A hard earned but uplifting 2-0 victory to the Reds.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 20/08/2018