Liverpool need to get their league campaign back on track with a positive result away to an out-of-form Crystal Palace on Sunday (13:30 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Palace come into the match on the back of a five-match winless streak that has seen them drop to within one point of the relegation zone. They are 17th in the Premier League table, with nine points from two wins, three draws and six defeats and are as short as 5/4 to go down in the bookies’ relegation betting.
Neil Warnock’s (pictured) side produced a spirited defensive performance in their 1-0 defeat away to Manchester United prior to the international break. They were comfortably outshot but largely limited their hosts to efforts from outside the penalty area. Frazier Campbell missed an excellent chance on the counter-attack before Juan Mata scored the game’s only goal.
Last season ended on a positive note for Palace, with an excellent run of results in the second half of the campaign seeing Tony Pulis lead them away from the relegation places to a comfortable 11th place finish. Preparations for the new season were, however, thrown into late disarray when Pulis left by mutual consent just two days before their opening fixture.
Warnock returned for his second spell at the helm but has so far been unable to recreate Pulis’ magic. Back-to-back wins over Everton and Leicester City provided hope, but four defeats and one draw in their last five fixtures have seen Palace swiftly descend the table. They are creating very few good-quality chances and have kept just two clean sheets to date.
James McArthur (calf) is Palace’s only injury doubt for Sunday’s match, but he is confident that he will be fit enough to take part.
Liverpool have endured a difficult start to the campaign after pushing Manchester City so close in last season’s title race. They are in the bottom half of the table, in 11th, with 14 points from four wins, two draws and five defeats.
The Reds surrendered an early lead to fall to a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea prior to the international break. Emre Can put them ahead inside the opening 10 minutes but Chelsea equalised shortly thereafter and created the better chances of the match. Liverpool were again relatively blunt up front and were defeated by Diego Costa’s 67th-minute winner.
It was a second consecutive league defeat for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and their fifth of a campaign in which they are yet to really get going. With Luis Suarez departed and Daniel Sturridge having made just three appearances due to a variety of injuries, they currently look miles away from the swashbuckling side who were so impressive last season.
The rapid, free-flowing and incisive attacking football of that campaign has yet to be seen. Liverpool are struggling to get in behind opposition defences and have seen their per match goal rate drop from 2.66 last season to 1.27 this time around. With no equivalent improvement in their defending, they have unsurprisingly endured a difficult start.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Sturridge (thigh), Suso (groin) and Jon Flanagan (knee) for the trip to London, while Jordan Henderson (hamstring), Jose Enrique (knee) and Mamadou Sakho (thigh) are all doubtful.
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Palace came back from three goals down to secure a dramatic 3-3 draw in last season’s equivalent fixture, while Liverpool were 3-1 victors in the match at Anfield. Palace are undefeated (two wins, one draw) in their three home encounters with the Reds since the turn of the millennium, but Liverpool did win the two previous meetings, in 1997 and 1994.
Palace are in the midst of a poor run of form and will be desperate to secure a positive result on Sunday in order to halt their swift descent towards the bottom three. They have problems at both ends of the pitch and Warnock has so far provided little evidence that he is capable of finding adequate solutions to problems that Pulis was able to disguise last season.
Liverpool, too, are struggling to match the level of performance they produced in the previous campaign. It is clear that they are missing both Suarez and the injured Sturridge, while none of their new signings have made a significant impact. Their goal output has been insufficient to mask the deficiencies of a defence that continues to concede far too often.
Neither side is firing on all cylinders at this moment in time. In the circumstances, a tightly contested draw seems the most likely outcome.
- Back the draw @ best odds of 27/10 with Bet365.
- 70.59% of the goals in Palace’s matches so far this season have been scored in the second half, as have 68.97% of the goals in matches involving Liverpool. With this in mind, back the second half to be the highest scoring half @ best odds of 5/4 with BetVictor.