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    Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Match Preview


    Liverpool will be looking to continue their excellent run of form on Saturday evening when they travel to mid-table Crystal Palace in another test of their title credentials.

    Jurgen Klopp's side will come face-to-face with former striker Christian Benteke, whose penalty in the sixth minute of stoppage time gave his former employers a rare win at Selhurst Park in March.

    The Reds have had mixed fortunes against Crystal Palace since the start of the new millennium, winning only five and drawing two of their 14 encounters in all competitions.

    Crystal Palace

    Christian Benteke will be eager to open his account at Selhurst Park as a Palace player when he faces his former club for the first time since he completed a £27 million move to the Eagles in August.

    The Belgian found life tough-going in his year-long spell at Anfield following his club-record £32 million transfer from Aston Villa, losing his place in the starting line-up after enduring a 13-match goalscoring drought at the start of 2016.

    Benteke has already netted as many goals for his new club (three) as he managed in 2016 for Liverpool, although that total did include the winning penalty, which he won himself, when the teams met at Selhurst Park seven month ago.

    After picking up only one point from three games in August, Alan Pardew's side recorded wins over Middlesbrough, Stoke and Sunderland in September and finished the month with a creditable 1-1 draw away to Everton.

    Two more defeats against West Ham and Leicester have seen last season's FA Cup finalists drop from seventh to 11th place in the league but that is still an improvement on their 15th place finish last season.

    Pardew strengthened his side in the summer with the additions of Benteke, Andros Townsend from Newcastle and James Tomkins from West Ham, while free agent Mathieu Flamini arrived at the club shortly after the transfer deadline.

    The former Magpies boss, who once lost an FA Cup final on penalties to Liverpool when he was manager of West Ham, can be encouraged by his team's excellent recent record against Saturday's opponents, winning three of their last five encounters.

    Liverpool

    The Reds bounced back from their uninspiring 0-0 draw against Manchester United to beat West Brom 2-1 last Saturday but were denied top place in the league courtesy of Gareth McAuley's late goal for The Baggies.

    Adam Lallana's return from a groin injury improved the overall balance of the team and the pace and fluency that had been lacking five days earlier against United had been reinstalled to the side's performance.

    Since last weekend, the club made it through to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win over Tottenham on Wednesday night, although Jurgen Klopp made 11 changes to his starting line-up.

    Daniel Sturridge scored both goals to stake a claim for a recall to the starting XI on Saturday although he has not scored in the Premier League since April 23 and has only started five matches in all competitions this season.

    The club handed first starts to 18-year-old right-back Trent Alex-Arnold and midfielder Ovie Ejaria, one year older, and although both players produced impressive displays against an understrength Spurs side, neither are likely keep their places in the team.

    Simon Mignolet and Georginio Wijnaldum be hoping to earn recalls after losing their places in the Premier League side in recent weeks although Klopp is likely to stay faithful to the team that beat West Brom last Saturday.

    Liverpool have some painful memories from playing at Selhurst Park since Palace returned to the Premier League in 2013, surrendering a 3-0 lead in the final 10 minutes to draw 3-3 in 2014 as well as losing 3-1 the following November.

    Crystal Palace Team News

    Scott Dann has recovered from the hamstring injury that has kept him out for over month and he could make his return to the side on Saturday evening against Liverpool.

    The Eagles may also be without the services of Jason Puncheon, who is a slight doubt after missing last weekend's defeat against Leicester due to a calf injury.

    Two of Palace's summer signings, Loic Remy and Jonathan Benteke, remain on the sidelines with muscle strain and knee injuries respectively, while Pape Souare will miss most of the season with a broken leg.

    Liverpool Team News

    James Milner is doubtful ahead of Saturday's match due to illness, while Divock Origi could also miss out after suffering from cramp in Wednesday's EFL Cup win over Tottenham.

    After making 11 changes in midweek, Klopp is likely to revert back to the team that beat West Brom last Saturday with Jordan Henderson eligible to return after serving a one-match ban on Wednesday.

    If Klopp does make any alterations, Daniel Sturridge, Georginio Wijnaldum and Simon Mignolet are the players most likely to earn a recall to the starting line-up after playing against Spurs.

    Sheyi Ojo is still on the sidelines with a back injury, while Joe Gomez remains some way short of match-fitness despite returning to training following a year out with respective knee and achilles injuries.

    Head-to-head

    Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in March was their first league win over Saturday's opponents at Selhurst Park since December 1997, although they did win 2-1 in an FA Cup 5th round tie 13 months earlier.

    It broke a run of four defeats and two draws for Liverpool at the ground, while the 18-time League Champions have also lost their last two matches against Palace at Anfield, which included a 2-1 defeat last November.

    Palace's famous 4-3 win over Liverpool in the 1990 FA Cup semi-finals, when manager Pardew netted the winning goal, was only their second ever victory over Liverpool although it started a run of five wins from eight matches against The Reds.

    In a head-to-head that was first contested in 1938, Liverpool won 11 and lost only one of their first 18 matches against The Eagles and have retained an overall lead with 23 wins and only 13 defeats from 57 encounters.

    Score Prediction

    Crystal Palace 1-1 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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