Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

By - Friday 4th October, 2013

Crystal Palace travel to Anfield on Saturday hoping to produce a shock result against a Liverpool side flying high in the Premier League, in second position.

Anfield. Photo by Kurt. Image used under Creative Commons License.

The Eagles will hope to avoid a defeat by a scoreline anywhere near the 9-0 drubbing received back in the 1989/1990 season, and repeat the shock 4-3 victory in the FA Cup Semi Final at the end of that season. Palace fans took their 9-0 defeat surprisingly well, with numerous self deprecating chants being sung and somehow a real togetherness showing through.

The defeat would go on to make a special victory that bit more sweeter when the two sides met at Villa Park for the FA Cup Semi Final. A surging John Pemberton run down the right wing eventually culminated in a Palace goal shortly after half-time and helped Palace on their way to what was an astonishing 4-3 victory. Everyone had written the Eagles off, particularly given the scoreline at Anfield in September 1989, but as appears to be a recurring theme with the club, Palace fought off the underdog tag and showed that they should not be underestimated. Quite whether we will see such drama on Saturday is debatable, but it looks like being a very difficult test for Ian Holloway’s men.

Palace are without defender Danny Gabbidon who has picked up a hamstring injury, but Damien Delaney looks set to return from the ankle problem which ruled him out of last week’s 2-0 defeat at Southampton. Long term absentees Yannick Bolasie and Jonathan Parr are both available for selection, providing a welcome boost for Ian Holloway.

Last time out, Palace suffered a 2-0 defeat away at Southampton, with their weakness from set-pieces becoming evident once more as Rickie Lambert fired in a superb free-kick to double the Saints’ lead following Osvaldo’s opener. Palace’s defence looked solid enough but once again it was lapses in concentration and poor decision making which led to the two goals. It seems that the Eagles are their own worst enemy at times, doing what they need to defensively and then slipping up and being punished. The Premier League is brutal and you will be punished for your mistakes. The defeat left Palace with only three points from their opening six matches, and they languish second from bottom in the Premier League, directly in contrast to Liverpool who sit second from the top.

It was a different story for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side on Sunday as they ran out victorious over a Sunderland side managed by caretaker Kevin Ball, following the sacking of Paolo Di Canio. The 3-1 win took them back to second spot behind leaders Arsenal by two points. Simon Mignolet has impressed between the sticks for Rodgers’ side following his move from the Stadium of Light in the summer, whilst Daniel Sturridge has been in superb form, finding the net five times so far this season and the England striker has eight of Liverpool’s last ten league goals.

Former Palace star Victor Moses is in line to face his former club for the first time since his departure in January 2010

Palace will need to be on their toes early on as all of Sturridge’s goals have come in the first half of matches. Daniel Agger may return from injury to slot into central defence. Phillipe Coutinho misses the match through injury, and combative midfielder Lucas Leiva is suspended, but there should be room for Victor Moses and the returning Luis Suarez. Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe are also in contention for a place in the starting line-up, but only one is likely to get the nod.

Former Palace star Victor Moses is in line to face his former club for the first time since his departure in January 2010, leaving Palace fans to ponder what could have been. The Nigerian forward has found his feet again at Liverpool, after falling out of favour at Chelsea. Should he play it will be the third former Palace academy graduate to line up on the opposing side this season. Swansea’s Wayne Routledge and Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne both faced their former club earlier in the season, whilst Wilfried Zaha was unused in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Palace.

Palace should continue with the formation used throughout the season so far, with Marouane Chamakh leading the line despite his antics at St Mary’s. Whether Dwight Gayle will retain his starting place is unclear, after he was substituted following an ineffective performance last week. Jerome Thomas is fit and travels with the squad, but so is Yannick Bolasie. Perhaps the most probable starting line-up will include Jason Puncheon and Jimmy Kebe either side of Chamakh, with Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi in the centre of midfield, although Stuart O’Keefe is pushing for a start after impressing in training.

It is hard to see past Liverpool for this match, even if Palace deploy more offensive tactics, the Reds are in great form and will be tough to contain.

Predicition: Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace.

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam is a Kingston University student in his final year as a Politics & International Relations undergraduate. A campaigner on mental health he is the founder of @Talk_Out, as well as part of the TalkEasyTrust, and seeks to break down stigma by encouraging talking out. Matt is also an avid Crystal Palace fan and the online editor of Five Year Plan Fanzine, as well as a regular contributor to the Croydon Guardian.

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