Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes his side will meet a Liverpool squad that has the quality to comfortably finish in the Premier League’s top four when they head to Anfield on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp has won three and drawn three in his first six games after replacing the sacked Brendan Rodgers but the Palace boss says the ability in his opposition’s squad is already there, before the German conducts any overhaul in the transfer market.
Pardew’s side have picked up just a solitary point from their past three league outings, as well as suffering a 5-1 thrashing at Manchester City in the League Cup and Pardew anticipates another tough examination.
“I thought in the summer that they have a top-four squad and that has not changed despite the change in manager,” he said.
“They are Liverpool and they should be top four. I think Christian Benteke is a terrific player and Klopp has arrived with great players there.
“Benteke is a different kind of threat to what they have had before and a great signing. There is a higher press under Klopp’s management and we know that is coming – we can cope with that.
“But they carry great players and great players can change games – Roberto Firmino did that at Stoke. We have to focus on what they are not good at and defending is an issue at the club so we will look to exploit that.
“We have come up against everyone in form, we are having one of those runs. But our performance against Manchester United, we must take great heart form that because only one team deserved to win it and that was us.”
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is in confident mood after he did not have a single shot to save in the Europa League win over Rubin Kazan on Thursday, his side’s third straight victory in all competitions.
“Three wins in a row have been great for our confidence but we need to look forward,” the former Sunderland shot stopper told the Liverpool Echo.
“We need to recover as quickly as we can for the game on Sunday. With all the travelling we don’t have much time.
“After the 3-1 win at Chelsea, the next day we were thinking about what we could improve and that is how we have to look at it again. We need to improve again for what will be a very tough fixture against Crystal Palace.”
Klopp will have to make do with a number of key players including Daniel Sturridge (knee), Kolo Toure (hamstring), Jordan Henderson (foot) as well as long-term absentees Joe Gomez, Danny Ings and Jon Flanagan.
Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh are both back in training for Palace, although Pardew believes the Anfield game could come too soon for them. Dwight Gayle is also a major doubt having suffered a setback in training.
Eighth-place Liverpool sit four points adrift of the top four and one clear of 10th-place Palace going into the weekend’s action.
Key Opta stats:
– Liverpool won five and lost none of the first seven Premier League meetings with Palace, but The Eagles have won three and lost just one of the last five.
– Crystal Palace have scored three goals in each of their last three Barclays Premier League meetings with Liverpool.
– Dwight Gayle has scored four goals in three Premier League appearances against Liverpool.
– Crystal Palace have won nine and lost just four of 13 Premier League away games since Alan Pardew was appointed as boss.
– Liverpool have won just two of their last six Premier League home games (W2 D2 L2).
– Crystal Palace have only scored four goals in their last seven Premier League matches and three of those have been Yohan Cabaye penalties.
– Christian Benteke has scored in the last 15 minutes of the match in three of his last four Premier League appearances for the Reds.