Liverpool vs Crystal Palace preview, betting tips and predictions: Liverpool to come out on top in tight affair
Liverpool to win and Sadio Mane to score @ 7/5 with Coral
Draw HT/Liverpool FT @ 3/1 with Sky Bet
Liverpool to win with under 2.5 goals @ 11/4 Sky Bet
Liverpool come in to the first home game of the new season under considerable pressure after a late draw at Watford on the opening weekend. Defensive frailties and issues defending set pieces put Jurgen Klopp under pressure, and the situation with wantaway midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who is set to miss the game with a reported injury, has hardly improved matters.
But victory in Germany in their Champions League qualifier first leg with Hoffenheim will boost their confidence, while Crystal Palace are not in the best shape themselves. A shock 3-0 defeat at home to Huddersfield on Saturday was not the start new boss Frank de Boer had wanted, and although the Eagles have become fond of Anfield in recent seasons, winning there twice, a lot of the talk surrounding them right now is about their need to adapt to de Boer’s possession-based ideals, which are in complete contrast to the direct counter attacking styles of Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew.
Wilfred Zaha is said to be missing for a month through injury, so will definitely not be involved on Saturday. Without his runs both stretching the play and cutting in against Alberto Moreno as the Liverpool left-back, Palace will be much easier to contain, and Klopp may be happy to let them keep the ball because that is where his intense pressing style comes into play high up the pitch. De Boer will have to be wary of the pace Liverpool have on both wings now, with Mohamed Salah offering a similar threat to Sadio Mane on the other wing.
But Mane, who was top scorer for the Reds last season, will be the main threat as he was against Watford, where he scored again. Liverpool will likely look for him at every opportunity, and that is why one of our betting tips is backing him to score in a home win at 7/5.
29': Sadio Mane scores. ??— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) August 12, 2017
55': Roberto Firmino scores. ??
57': Mohamed Salah scores. ??
Liverpool's front 3 all on the scoresheet. pic.twitter.com/bZhx2YvXAw
Palace will need to be able to soak up pressure, and we believe if they do that they could frustrate Liverpool for the first half. With or without Coutinho, they have enough energy to cause all sorts of problems in attack, so de Boer will want his side to slow the game down while keeping possession.
Key battle: Sadio Mane vs Patrick van Aanholt
We have already covered Mane’s threat, but van Aanholt plays a key role in the outcome of this game too. The Dutchman is ideal for de Boer’s system, because he has pace to burn and an ability to create from deep going forward, but he must be disciplined when facing up to Mane, because the turnovers in play is what will harm Palace the most.
If van Aanholt commits too often, then Mane will have a way into goal easily and with Salah on the other side and Roberto Firmino in the middle all taking risks in the final third, the defence which struggled so much with Steve Mounie last week may find themselves exposed again.