An opening weekend struggling draw against Fulham wasn’t what the doctor ordered for last season’s runners-up Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp will probably take pride in how his side came from behind twice to rescue a point. They will face Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace who are also searching for their first win of the 2022-23 Premier League season at Anfield after suffering a 2-0 loss at the hands of Vieira’s former side Arsenal.
Virgil Van Dijk being bullied and dribbled past on a football field isn’t a sight that is common. However, that is exactly what happened when Aleksandar Mitrovic squared off against him and came out as the victory on the other side after inducing nightmares for Van Dijk. So great was his performance in the opening fixture that he was extremely unlucky that Fulham couldn’t hold on to their lead against a Liverpool side who had failed to go through the gears.
Mitrovic sent Craven Cottage into a frenzy after towering high above the head of Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander Arnold to head home the first goal of the season for Fulham before registering a brace with a successful conversion from 12 yards out. Mitrovic both won and scored the penalty after his movement proved to be too tricky for Van Dijk to deal with and ended up being felled inside the box.
However, new signing Darwin Nunez as well as the long-time leader of the attack Mohamed Salah restored parity at every interval in order to secure a draw and with it, an important point for Liverpool.
Manager Jurgen Klopp was scathing in his criticism of his team’s performance last weekend. While he also blamed the Craven Cottage pitch for being dry that hindered the progression of the ball, the inevitable question regarding whether Liverpool should sign a new midfielder propped up after Thiago seemed to suffer a knock once again.
There’s still time left in the transfer window and the Merseyside faithful would like to see more depth in the middle of the park given Thiago’s brushes with long-term injuries in the recent past which also adversely affects Klopp’s options and Liverpool’s performances on the pitch.
However, a return to Anfield will provide some comfort to the Liverpool manager who has the opportunity to rouse his team and correct the wrongs of the first game-week. The hosts haven’t lost a Premier League match at Anfield in 17 months. They have won 13 of their last 14 matches here in front of the Kop and the expectation is that, this fixture will provide the basis for their resurgence once again.
Liverpool also haven’t lost their first league match at home since the 2003-04 campaign. With the Premier League competition, in its current form, marking its 30th anniversary on Monday night, ending their current streak of conceding goals first in each of their last five top-flight matches would probably be a great anniversary gift for Jurgen Klopp.
When it comes to Crystal Palace, meanwhile, the fixture against Arsenal had a lot of buildup surrounding how the Gunners famously made a string of mistakes and surrendered to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of their former Invincibles captain Patrick Vieira. However, Mikel Arteta and co seemed to have learnt their lessons this time around.
It didn’t take long for the Gunners to get up and running. Brazilian winger Gabriel Martinelli scored inside 20 minutes to get Arsenal’s campaign going at the Selhurst Park while Mark Guehi registered an own goal that decided the game 2-0 in favour of the visitors. However, the match could have unfolded in a different manager had the Palace attackers managed to capitalize on most of the gilt-edged opportunities that actually fell their way throughout the course of 90 minutes.
That loss against Arsenal ended up breaking a wonderful run of five consecutive home clean sheets for Vieira’s side. Their chances of securing their first three points of the season with a win have only diminished given the opposition they are facing this weekend but despite that, Patrick Vieira would like to focus on the positives from the inaugural clash of the season.
While Crystal Palace haven’t begun a Premier League season with consecutive losses since 2017-18, the fixture against Liverpool could prove to be an insurmountable challenge given that Palace have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last five Premier League matches away from home last season and a strong Liverpool forward line will be keen on extending that streak.
Crystal Palace will also be bogged down by the odds as recent history do not favour their chances either. Last season’s Premier League runners up have won 10 league matches in a row against Crystal Palace since a 2-1 loss at Anfield in April 2017. They also faced little to no problems while completing the double over Crystal Palace with an aggregate score of 6-1 over both fixtures.
LIV vs CRY, Premier League 2022/23
Date: 16th August, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Anfield Stadium, Liverpool
Liverpool Premier League form:
Crystal Palace Premier League form:
Liverpool wins: 18
Crystal Palace wins: 8
Liverpool Team News:
Following his injury in the first match against Fulham, fears have gripped the Liverpool camp and reports suggest that Spanish midfielder could be out for at least four and up to six weeks with a hamstring injury he picked up at Craven Cottage.
As a result, Thiago now finds himself in the treatment room which is already working at full capacity tending to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Caoimhin Kelleher, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones and Ibrahima Konate.
Joel Matip has also missed training due to a reported groin injury which casts doubts on his participation. On the brighter side of things, however, Naby Keita seems to have recovered from illness which saw him miss the first match. Kostas Tsimikas will also fancy his chances of shaking off a knock and become involved in first-team affairs heading into this clash.
With the absence of Matip, Van Dijk may once again be paired with Joe Gomez at Anfield. Darwin Nunez, who scored the goal that secured the draw last weekend might have done enough to warrant him a place in the starting XI as Roberto Firmino, who started in his stead, looked largely underwhelming at the Craven Cottage.
Crystal Palace Team News:
New Crystal Palace signing Cheick Doucoure had to leave the field after suffering a cramp against Arsenal but he is likely to return to the fold after shaking off the issue. Doucoure might also be joined by Michael Olise in the matchday squad on the trip to Anfield.
A particularly important injury setback has come after Nathan Ferguson suffered a knock to his foot. He will now provide company to James McArthur, James Tomkins and Jack Butland in the infirmary. However, Sam Johnstone seems to be close to achieving full fitness has he was fit enough to sit on the bench last weekend.
Vicente Guaita may continue in between the sticks for now but Odsonne Edouard’s spot in the final third of the pitch is under threat from the returning Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Nunez, Diaz
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze; Ayew, Mateta, Zaha
No other place will provide the perfect conditions for Liverpool to bounce back and finally get their Premier League campaign up and running than Anfield. Liverpool’s recent history of posting 10 wins on the trot against Crystal Palace also works in their favour and one would expect them to return to usual ways and shake off last week’s disappointment.
While Patrick Vieira’s team are well capable of surprising the big guns in the Premier League with resolute fights of their own, the Liverpool team, even with several players out injured, have enough quality on paper and enough defensive nous to prevent any mishap.