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Match Previews

The Palace Preview: Liverpool

19 January 2019

Crystal Palace, typically seen as determined dark horses in an often unbalanced fixture, will face league-leaders Liverpool in one of their toughest tests of the season as they travel to Anfield on the back of some successful form over recent weeks.

The Eagles have recorded a handful of remarkable results against the Reds in recent times, winning four matches and drawing once from an eight-game run between 2014 and '17.

However, from their last three league fixtures, Palace have failed to take a point from Jurgen Klopp's men and will be looking to recover their form having notched up four wins and a draw from their previous seven clashes. 

Roy Hodgson's side will be bolstered facing such a strong opponent by their romping win over Manchester City earlier in December as well as Liverpool having lost two of their past three matches in all competitions.

One of these losses came at the hands of Pep Guardiola's City, who were the first team to defeat the Reds this season. On home turf, though, Klopp's side are unbeaten and will be looking to extend their gap on the last campaign's now second-placed champions by claiming a further three points for their tally.

Christian Benteke netted a brace less than two seasons ago in the last time the Eagles defeated Liverpool, his two goals ensuring that Palace won despite Phillipe Coutinho netting within 25 minutes.

The win meant that Palace had become the first side to win three consecutive away games against Liverpool since Chelsea in 2005 and saw them win six from eight matches, leading them to a 14th placed finish by the end of the season.

But this year, Liverpool have been playing in astonishing form and it's difficult to focus on one player amongst an exceptional squad. Virgil van Dijk, though, stands both physically and metaphorically head and shoulders above those around him and this season he has helped the Reds concede just 10 goals from 22 matches, less than a goal a game.

And with Palace having struggled at times going forward this season, breaking the watertight Liverpool backline will be a tough job. Boosting their chances of doing so, though, is the return of former Red Benteke, who played his first Premier League match since September against Watford last Saturday.

Benteke has scored five times as a visiting player on the Anfield turf and will be looking to mark his continued return in fashion as he travels north to Merseyside for the first time in this campaign.

Tactical overview

Liverpool have transformed into a side that has strength in all areas, and it's their defensive solidity which has perhaps stood out this season whilst their attacking prowess from the last campaign has remained.

They tend to press very high up the pitch when out of possession but focus on retaining the ball with patient, pressing build-up play when the ball sits at Red boots.

Going forward, there is immense firepower in the squad with attacking full-backs who can also support their assaults from defence. However, there are currently a whole host of injuries to the Liverpool roster and so Klopp may be forced into changing his overall approach.

Recently, his team have often lined-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, however it can switch to a more robust 4-4-2 when defending and often ruthless 4-3-3 when going forward with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane moving higher up the pitch. The depth in some areas, then, will allow Liverpool to cover their absent players enough to provide a stern test for the Eagles.

Your matchday stat and ref

In all competitions, none of the last 10 meetings between Liverpool and Crystal Palace have ended in a draw, with the Reds winning six and the Eagles winning the other four.

Refereeing this fixture will be Jonathan Moss, who will be assisted by Marc Perry and Andy Halliday with Andre Marriner as fourth official. Moss has handed out 55 yellow cards to Eagles players from just 26 games.

Team news

Roy Hodgson has confirmed that goalkeepers Wayne Hennessey and Vicente Guaita are both injured and that veteran shot-stopper Julian Speroni is most likely to start.

For Liverpool, there have been a whole host of injuries over recent days however Klopp appeared confident that the majority of those in the sick-bay will have a chance to play. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum are all in contention, though the Reds will have to be cautious as they are only just recovering.

Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren remain absent.

Live coverage

This game will not be shown live on television in the United Kingdom, however Palace Audio will make full commentary available to fans for just £1.49. To find out more and purchase the best way to keep up-to-date with Palace's progress, click here now.

Fans watching in America can view this match via NBC Sports Live and NBCSN. 

If you live abroad elsewhere, you can find out where to watch the game with our Worldwide TV Listings now.

Alternatively, if following from outside the United Kingdom, why not check if there is an Official Supporters' Club meeting near you? You can find the nearest one here.

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