Selhurst Park holds painful memories for many Liverpool fans after Dwight Gayle’s hat-trick all but condemned the Reds to failure in their title bid back in the 2013/14 season.
However, since that 3-3 draw, they have lost just once away to Crystal Palace, and they have picked up three points every time they have gone there under manager Jurgen Klopp.
The strange thing about the Eagles is that they pick up more points on the road than they do at home. In some ways, it isn’t that surprising considering the manager that they have in charge.
Roy Hodgson’s cautious approach means they are very limited in terms of their attacking threat. Although they have threatening individuals like Wilfried Zaha, they have only managed to score four goals in all competitions at home this season.
It has not been bad luck either, with them only exceeding 2 in expected goals (xG) in one match. They are, for all intents and purposes, a conservative and defensive side.
The irony is they are not that great defensively either. They have faced 82 shots in seven games at Selhurst Park, which is 11.71 per match. That is higher than the amount they have attempted themselves (11.29).
What it does mean, though, is you need to select the right players to exploit the gaps. Considering Andy Robertson is a major doubt for the game, the creative spark will have to come from more central areas if James Milner starts at left-back.
We have already mentioned in another post why Naby Keita could be in line for a start this weekend. On top of personnel, though, it is the attitude which is just as important.
Patience and concentration will be needed. The Reds will have a lot of the ball (City had 67% of the possession during their 2-0 win in October), and it’s important that when the ball is lost that individuals like Zaha are not able to exploit any space in behind.
Liverpool will go with a high line in order to put the Eagles under pressure and pen them back deep, so counter-attacks are always a risk. Trent Alexander-Arnold, in particular, will have to be wary of the threat posed, both by Zaha and fullback Patrick van Aanholt.
For Klopp, the operative word for tomorrow’s game will be “patience.” Palace do give up chances, so there is no need to go gung-ho against a team that sit back and offer little ambition going forward.