Monday, October 3, 2022

Prediction: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 14 Aug 2022

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Verdict: Total goals over 2.5

Best odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: Unibet

Liverpool and Crystal Palace are set to close the second round of the Premier League campaign when they face each other at Anfield on Monday evening.

Liverpool

Having won both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup but narrowly missed out on the Premier League title and the Champions League trophy, the Merseysiders didn’t get off to the best of starts last week when they traveled to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham in the opening round. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored for the home side after just over half an hour and almost won the match for his team with a second goal which followed Mohamed Salah’s second-half equalizer, but Darwin Nunez came off the bench to add to the attacking threat of Jurgen Klopp’s team and bagged a goal himself to set the score at 2-2.

With defending champions Manchester City already five points ahead (they won both their matches so far), Liverpool won’t want to allow that gap to remain in force after Monday if they intend to give another go at winning the 20th title.

At the time of writing (Sunday afternoon as Nottingham Forest lead West Ham by 1-0), the point Liverpool won at the Cottage has them in 13th place, but that, of course, is of no importance so early in the season.

Team News

Speaking to the press ahead of the match, Klopp mentioned the injury crisis that’s hit his squad already and he hasn’t ruled out new signings completely, but he did say he wasn’t expecting any more to come through this summer following the arrivals of Fabio Carvalho from Fulham, Nunez from Benfica, and Calvin Ramzay from Aberdeen. Meanwhile, forwards Sadio Mane, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino have all left the club, as has right-back Neco Williams.

As for injuries, Klopp is currently without midfielder Thiago Alcantara (hamstring), and that seems to be the biggest problem of all, along with the absence of defender Ibrahima Konate (knee). Both players will be out for a while. Joel Matip has also suffered a minor groin injury and he faces a late fitness test ahead of the match. If he’s not ready to play, Joe Gomez is surely the man to step into the breach and partner Virgil van Dijk in the heart of defence.

Alisson Becker will be back between the posts after missing the Fulham clash, but in addition to Thiago, there will be no Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Curtis Jones in the middle of the park. Forward Diogo Jota is also out for the time being, though he could be back next week for the trip to Old Trafford.

Midfielder Naby Keita has recovered from illness and should be ready to play, as should left-back Kostas Tsimikas, though Andy Robertson isn’t likely to drop from the lineup to make room for the Greek. One who might make way in the lineup is Roberto Firmino, with Nunez raring to make his first Premier League start.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have already faced a ‘top six’ side in the opening round, none other than manager Patrick Vieira’s old club from his playing days, Arsenal. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Gunners proved too strong on that occasion, with Gabriel Martinelli and an own-goal from Marc Guehi, either side of the halftime break, making sure Mikel Arteta’s side left Selhurst Park with all three points on the bus.

Naturally, Anfield isn’t the best place for any team in the world to go to in search of a bounce upwards, though Palace have been known to cause quite a few problems to Liverpool in the past. On the other hand, they’ve also been known to leave that contest with their heads bowed to the ground after a heavy defeat. But the thought that they will have left two such difficult matches behind after the first two rounds will likely act as a morale booster for Vieira’s men. Be that as it may, they travel to the north-west of England with no pressure whatsoever, with nothing to lose.

Pointless, Palace sit in the relegation zone at the time of writing, but that, as has already been said, means absolutely nothing at this point.

Team News

There have been some notable changes to the playing personnel at Palace this summer. Two former Liverpool players, striker Christian Benteke and defender Martin Kelly, have left the club, as has midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate. Defensive midfielder Cheick Doucoure has come in from Lens, as have centre-back Chris Richards from Bayern Munich and goalkeeper Sam Johnstone from West Bromwich Albion.

At the moment, Vieira cannot call upon centre-back James Tomkins (muscular problem), fullback Nathan Ferguson (ankle), goalkeeper Jack Butland (broken wrist), and midfielder James McArthur (groin), while winger Michael Olise faces a late fitness test.

It remains to be seen whether Vieira changes anything from the Arsenal defeat, but Odsonne Edouard and Jordan Ayew are practically certain to be involved upfront beside Wilfried Zaha. Former Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne should be on the right defensive flank, and it remains to be seen if Luka Milivojevic gets a start in the middle of the park ahead of Doucoure or Jeffrey Schupp.

Conclusion

There isn’t much debate about Liverpool being the favourites here, especially as Palace haven’t gotten a point against them at either venue for five whole seasons.

But with the odds on a home win being extremely short, perhaps it would be more interesting to go for goals. There have been three or more on seven of the last nine occasions when these teams met in the Premier League.

Verdict: Total goals over 2.5

Best odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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