Liverpool will be aiming to climb to the top of the Premier League table when they welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield on Saturday.
Gameweek 5 of the 2021/22 Premier League season gets underway on Friday, and on Saturday, as many as six games will be on show. Liverpool will have the chance to capture the summit of the top-flight when they play hosts to Crystal Palace at Anfield.
Liverpool have been in fine touch early in the campaign, having won four of their five games so far. While not exactly at their best on either end of the pitch, the Reds have been rediscovering their resilient side, as was evidenced most recently in their come from behind 3-2 win over AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League. In the Premier League, they are level on points with Manchester United and Chelsea.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, appear to be in a gradual process of transitioning from Roy Hodgson’s ways to Patrick Vieira’s ideology. The Eagles, though, have been quite impressive since suffering an opening day defeat to Chelsea, having played out back-to-back draws with Brentford and West Ham United before handing a shock 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Liverpool beating Crystal Palace 2-0, with Sadio Mane scoring a goal in each half. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
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— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 17, 2021
Jurgen Klopp has one fresh injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace. On Saturday, the Liverpool could be bereft of the services of as many as four first-team players.
Divock Origi is the latest player to have been sidelined, having sustained a minor thigh injury earlier in the week against AC Milan. The Belgian striker, though, ought to be fit enough to be a part of the matchday squad. The likes of Neco Williams (foot), Harvey Barnes (ankle) and Roberto Firmino (hamstring) ought to remain unavailable.
In Firmino’s continued absence, Diogo Jota will once again occupy the central attacking position in the front three, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah being the two wide men. As for the midfield unit, Thiago Alcantara is likely to be recalled to the starting lineup.
The Spanish international will come in for Naby Keita, with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho keeping hold of their spots. Meanwhile, at the back, there is only likely to be one change made, with Virgil van Dijk replacing Joe Gomez at the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Joel Matip could well be in line to be rested in favour of a start for Ibrahima Konate, but he should retain his place in the team, partnering van Dijk. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are certainties to start out wide, with Alisson Becker the automatic choice in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane
Unlike his counterpart in the Liverpool dugout, Patrick Vieira barely has any fresh roster issues to contend with ahead of the trip to Anfield. On Saturday, the Crystal Palace manager will only have to make do without three first-team players.
Eberechi Eze and Nathan Ferguson are long-term absentees due to their respective achilles injuries. In addition, the game has come too soon for Jeffrey Schlupp, despite his recovery from a thigh injury, as he continues to build his fitness up.
Meanwhile, Vieira has a big decision to make against Liverpool will be the choice between Odsonne Edouard and Christian Benteke. Edouard will hope he has done enough to earn a place in the starting lineup following a bright cameo late on last weekend. Wilfred Zaha and Jordan Ayew will be the two wide men setting him up.
Another key decision will be whether Vieira recalls Luka Milivojevic upon his return to action. However, Cheikhou Kouyate ought to get the nod at the base of the three-man midfield, with Conor Gallagher and James McArthur lining up alongside him and providing the defensive support.
At the back, no change is necessary, with Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi once again forming the central defensive partnership while Joel Ward and Tyrick Mitchell will be the two full-backs, with Vicente Guaita taking his place between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate, McArthur; Ayew, Edouard, Zaha
- Liverpool have won each of their last eight Premier League games against Crystal Palace, scoring 24 goals and conceding just five. If beaten, the Eagles will equal their longest top-flight losing streak against a particular opponent, having suffered nine defeats in a row versus Tottenham Hotspur from 2015 to 2019.
- Liverpool have gone 14 Premier League games without defeat, the longest current unbeaten run in England’s top four divisions (W11 D3).
- Liverpool are the first side since Chelsea in 2009 to have had 100 shots on goal after four Premier League matches of a season.
- Sadio Mane could become the first player to score in nine consecutive Premier League outings against a particular opponent if he scores versus Crystal Palace on Saturday. He has 99 goals for Liverpool in all competitions.
- Odsonne Edouard is the first player in a decade to score more than once on his Premier League debut. Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has scored five Premier League goals at Anfield as a visiting player, one more than he did while playing for Liverpool.
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It has been a while since Mane was in his elements. After jointly winning the Premier League golden boot a couple of seasons ago, the Senegalese winger has gone off the boil. However, Crystal Palace are his favourite opponents, with Mane scoring in each of his last nine outings against the Eagles.
Therefore, the game represents the chance for Mane to regain some semblance of his best form, especially following his goalscoring display against Leeds United. If so, Liverpool will be in good stead for the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign. A key game for the 29-year-old, who can make history on Saturday if he scores in what will be the ninth successive Premier League game against Crystal Palace.
Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace might be riding high on confidence following a clinical performance against Tottenham Hotspur. However, they might just be set to run into a brick wall in the form of Liverpool, who are likely to be a bridge that they might not be table to cross.
The pace of Wilfried Zaha and the precise finishing of Odsonne Edouard will provide Liverpool with some tricky moments. On the opposite end, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane ought to be on the scoresheet, with the latter making history with his goal on the day. A result that will take the Reds to the top of the table, if only temporarily so.