Gameweek 2 Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
The Premier League season has not only sparked into life in its first week, it's smashed expectations with 31 goals during the opening weekend, 8 clean sheets, and for the second consecutive season, the Champions were beaten by surprise opposition. With the second round of matches in the Premier League upon us, we review Liverpool's first home fixture of the season, as they entertain a Crystal Palace side who will be eager to right their own wrongs from an opening day defeat to promoted side Huddersfield. All aboard.
Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
When?: Saturday 19th August 2017; 3pm (GMT)
Referee?: Kevin Friend
Crystal Palace travel to Anfield to take on a Liverpool side, who like Palace, are searching for their first win of the Premier League season. The travelling side were brushed aside 3-0 by EFL Championship play-off winners Huddersfield, whilst Liverpool conceded deep into injury time to be prevented of an opening day victory by a determined Watford side.
Liverpool have slight injury concerns to Philippe Coutinho (back) and Daniel Sturridge (thigh), and will definitely be without Nathaniel Clyne (back), Adam Lallana (thigh) and Danny Ings (knee).
Crystal Palace have growing concerns over Wilfried Zaha's availability after picking up a knee injury in the defeat to Huddersfield, which may rule the winger out for up to a month. There are also concerns over Yohan Cabaye (knock) and James McArthur (knock), and will be without Pape Souaré (leg), Bakary Sako (muscle), and Connor Wickham (knee).
The home side this weekend were victorious against Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in a Champions League qualifying tie in Germany, the club's ninth successive away victory in European qualifying rounds, after a superb free-kick from 18 year-old right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, and a Havard Nordtveit own goal, which was deflected from a James Milner cross.
On the display in Germany, Klopp was in a reflecting mood after the game, and heading into this weekend's clash with Crystal Palace.
"Hoffenheim had a specific plan to play. We gambled a little too much on the wing, it was a little dangerous in the first half, but as always when we play football, we found spaces in-between and created wonderful chances.
"The result is OK. The first half is done and if you said before the game we would win, I would take the result.
"We need Anfield, what an intense game for both sides. I am looking forward to a European night at Anfield. Only the person who does not know about Hoffenheim can be surprised by this."
Frank de Boer will be hoping for an improved result from Anfield after defeat against Huddersfield, hoping that Liverpool will have an eye to the return qualifying tie with Hoffenheim next week, believing that his squad have learnt some hard lessons since their first loss of the season.
"If you analyse the game, it is quite simple. We started well but after 10 minutes the game changed. We were close to making it 2-1 and if we did, I had a feeling we would get a point.
"You cannot go suddenly from one to 10, you have to do it step-by-step. We showed some good football but a game does not last 75 minutes, you have to concentrate for 95 minutes.
"Huddersfield did a fantastic job and compliments to them. They played how they always do, but if you lose 3-0, they deserve it."
Match Statistics and Insight
In this corresponding fixture last season, Palace beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield, with Christian Benteke scoring both the goals after Philippe Coutinho scored a free-kick to put the Reds ahead.
Liverpool fielded an identical squad in their Champions League qualifying victory at Hoffenheim following from their 3-3 draw at Watford.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's goal in Champions League qualifying was his first for Liverpool, in his ninth start in all competitions for the club.
Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino each have an assist and a goal to their names in the Premier League after their draw at Watford.
Christian Benteke has scored five goals in his previous three Premier League games at Anfield as an opposition player - at no away venue has he scored more in the competition (five).
Crystal Palace were 1 of 4 home sides to not score in the Premier League during the first round of games. Southampton, Brighton, and Newcastle, also failed to score.
Liverpool were one of seven teams to score 3+ goals during the Premier League's first weekend. Arsenal, Leicester, Watford, Burnley, Huddersfield, and Man United, also managed three goals or more.
Fantasy Premier League: Talking Points
Wilfried Zaha's injury is at the forefront of FPL concern, with over 145,000 managers removing the Ivorian winger from their squads. A price decrease is inevitable.
Zaha's absence might open the door for academy star Jason Lokilo, priced at £4.5m in the FPL, to earn a starting birth. An alternative to Lokilo is £5.0m priced Jason Puncheon starting in an attacking role, with Cabaye or McArthur returning to the fold.
With set-piece potential aiding his Fantasy cause, and a goal under his belt, all eyes will be on Trent Alexander-Arnold this weekend. With 2.6% ownership as of writing a sharp increase in transfers in is expected
Christian Benteke is the dark-horse to cause a stir against his former club, having scored twice at Anfield last season. The Belgian forward is currently backed by 9.0% of players, hoping for another Palace victory.
Huddersfield's victory over Palace might have tactical insight into the fixture this weekend. David Wagner's promoted side play in a similar high-pressing formation as Liverpool, which might provide potential attacking dividends for the popular trio of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, and Roberto Firmino, if Palace are to adopt a similar 3-4-3 Dutch system at the weekend.
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