Aug 19, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Anfield
Attendance: 53,138
Crystal Palace
Mane (73')
Henderson (69')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Puncheon (15'), van Aanholt (63'), Benteke (92')

Preview: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

Sports Mole previews Saturday afternoon's Premier League meeting between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield.

Liverpool welcome bogey side Crystal Palace to Anfield on Saturday afternoon looking for their first win of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

Following an entertaining 3-3 draw with Watford last weekend, the Reds are already in a position where they cannot afford to drop points on home soil against a side heavily beaten in their opener.


Stefano Okaka scores the opener during the Premier League game between Watford and Liverpool on August 12, 2017© Offside

The six-goal thriller with Watford last Saturday encapsulated what Liverpool are all about, as they again looked impressive in attacking transitions but suspect defensively to deny them a fifth successive opening-game victory.

There was better news for the Reds in midweek though thanks to a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League playoff tie, doing exactly what was required away from home to remain firmly on course to reach the group stages.

Despite falling massively off the pace in the second half of last season, finishing in the top four for just the second time in eight seasons to bring European football back to Anfield ultimately meant that the campaign went down as a success, though there is still work to be done in next week's return fixture against the German side.

For now all focus switches back to the Premier League - a regular occurrence in the coming months if the Merseyside outfit do indeed succeed in their mission of qualifying for the Champions League proper, the demands of which Jurgen Klopp will need little reminding of.

Klopp has strengthened his squad sufficiently with the additions of Dominic Solanke, Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson, though more new faces are surely required if the Reds are to sustain their challenge for silverware on four fronts.

Incoming arrivals appear thin on the ground at the moment, though, with talk of moves for Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita - supposedly their two top summer targets - going quiet of late, despite the Southampton defender recently handing in a transfer request.

Should the window close tomorrow Liverpool still boast an impressive group, albeit one that still appears too defensively weak to close the 17-point gap on champions Chelsea from last season, as witnessed at Vicarage Road a week ago when again being caught out from set-piece plays.

Keeping hold of Philippe Coutinho is Klopp's biggest priority right now, however, having again seen his prized asset linked with Barcelona on Thursday, and with Arsenal and Manchester City to come next the Reds could do without the midfielder being left unsettled.

Recent form in Premier League: D
Recent form (all competitions): DW

Crystal Palace

Ajax's head coach Frank de Boer gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Celtic and Ajax at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on October 22, 2013© Getty Images

While there were positives for Liverpool to take from their 3-3 draw with Watford, Palace supporters had less to be cheerful about as they saw their side slip to a shocker of a result at home to Huddersfield Town.

The Terriers were given little hope of staying up in their first Premier League campaign, but they earned a comfortable 3-0 win at Selhurst Park to give new Eagles boss Frank de Boer plenty to think about ahead of this next outing.

For while De Boer proved himself at Ajax, winning four titles in five seasons in Amsterdam, he had far less joy in his next position at Inter Milan, where he lasted for just 85 days to see his reputation left in tatters.

Palace chairman Steve Parish was unwilling to make another safe appointment following the shock exit of Sam Allardyce at the end of last season, however, instead naming the Dutchman as his sixth boss in the last five years, each bringing their own style of play.

Patience could well be key for the South Londoners over the next few months, with De Boer needing to not only bed himself into his new surroundings but also integrate some new faces into the fold, including Premier League loanees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Losing chief creator Wilfried Zaha so early in the season was a big blow for De Boer, reportedly being left without the Ivory Coast international for the next month, and he will now be praying that Christian Benteke remains fit - between them they scored more than half of Palace's goals last term.

Conceding goals was a major worry last time out when shipping 63 in all and, after seeing their net breached three more times against unfancied Huddersfield in their opener, it might be a good idea for De Boer to bite the bullet and sign Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool permanently.

Minor tweaks could be all that it takes to get the Eagles back on track, but games against Liverpool, Man United and Manchester City before the end of October, plus Chelsea immediately after the international break, sets up a potentially tricky start to life in English football for De Boer.

Recent form in Premier League: L

Team News

Philippe Coutinho in action during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on May 7, 2017© SilverHub

It has been a frustrating start to the new season for Daniel Sturridge, who could come in for his first appearance this weekend after recovering from a minor injury to be named in the squad.

No such luck for Coutinho, though, as he again misses out with a supposed back problem and may well have played his last game for the club if certain reports are to be believed.

Klopp could stick with the same side for the third match running, meaning that Robertson, James Milner, Divock Origi and Solanke may again be forced to watch on from the bench.

Palace will start with former Reds striker Benteke as he looks to build on a record that has seen him score five times in three visits to Anfield as an opposition player.

Zaha is to miss out through that injury sustained against Huddersfield, though De Boer saw Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur run out for the Under-23s side in the week and they may come into his first-team plans.

A change in formation may also be on the cards after the heavy opening loss, but it might simply be a case of the players requiring some time to adapt to the new methods.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Salah

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Riedewald; Ward, Milivojevic, Puncheon, Van Aanholt; Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek; Benteke

Head To Head

Both teams have scored in each of the last 10 encounters in this fixture in all competitions, averaging 3.9 goals per match combined.

Palace have won three Premier League games in a row at Anfield and are now aiming to become the first side to make it four.

Benteke found the net twice on his return to the red half of Merseyside the last time they met, helping his side to a 2-1 win here in April.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Liverpool 3-2 Crystal Palace

Liverpool tend to struggle when they host Palace but, on the back of a battling victory at Hoffenheim in midweek, their confidence will now be a little higher. Goals can almost certainly be expected at Anfield this weekend, with the Reds favourites to come out on top on home soil.

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Reds boss Jurgen Klopp appears ahead of the Premier League game between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on February 11, 2017
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