Christian Benteke meets his former side - can the Belgian get one over on his old teammates? Michael Cox looks at the tactical battle, while Alan Thompson provides expert betting insight...
"Benteke also had a pretty good record against Liverpool during his days with Aston Villa, scoring four times in five league games."
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Live on BT Sport 1
Match Odds: Crystal Palace 5.14/1, Liverpool 1.768/11, The Draw 4.1.
It's rare that a Premier League fixture seems so likely to be dominated by one man - but all eyes will be on Christian Benteke, upon his first match against his former club.
While there's little doubt that Benteke's skills didn't suit Jurgen Klopp's style of football, it would be inaccurate to describe the big Belgian as a 'flop' at Anfield. In fact, he netted a goal every 161 minutes, a better rate than the likes of Jermain Defoe, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku. Benteke didn't play too much - but when he did, he usually did the job.
Liverpool don't have good memories of Selhurst Park after their collapse here three seasons ago, but back in March they recorded a 2-1 victory with a last-minute goal. The scorer? Benteke, of course.
Benteke also had a pretty good record against Liverpool during his days with Aston Villa, scoring four times in five league games. You can't help feeling, too, that Liverpool's inability to defend set-pieces properly could play into his hands - since his Premier League debut at the start of 2012/13, no player has scored more than his 19 headed goals. Considering Liverpool haven't kept a clean sheet on the road this season, all the signs point to a Benteke goal, and you can back him at around 8.615/2 to open the scoring.
There are, of course, 21 other players involved from the start. Alan Pardew has more selection problems, with both Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon doubts. The former seems likely to make it, and play alongside James Tomkins, but Puncheon might be on the bench, which would mean Pardew using both James McArthur and Joe Ledley in the deep roles, with Yohan Cabaye at the top of the midfield trio.
Cabaye's battle with Jordan Henderson would be particularly interesting. Too many sides this season - particularly Chelsea - have allowed the midfielder too much time and space on the ball, with the result that he's completed 131 more passes than any other Premier League player this season, a staggering statistic. Henderson is developing into a good controlling midfielder, and Cabaye must push up and shut him down.
Overall, however, Palace are likely to sit deep in two banks of four, and play primarily on the counter-attack. Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha are both very dangerous going forward, and their tricky wing play works nicely with Benteke's aerial threat, even if Townsend has something of a habit of shooting rather than crossing.
Klopp is unlikely to use Daniel Sturridge upfront despite his midweek double against Tottenham in the cup. Roberto Firmino will lead the line, with Coutinho drifting inside from the left flank and Sadio Mane offering pace in behind from the right. Adam Lallana's return to full fitness is a significant boost for Liverpool, as he's often been the player to get quick passing combinations going in tight spaces, which is exactly what Liverpool will need here.
If that doesn't work, Sturridge will be the Plan B. But, while it was understandable Liverpool chose to sell him this summer, they no longer have a Plan B quite as effective as Benteke.
The Betfair Trader's View: Alan Thompson
The Reds will certainly travel to London in high spirits - sitting joint top of the league on 20 points and they have only lost once in all competitions this season. Having already encountered some of the elite teams, they are now entering a sequence of games that 'on paper' certainly look easier, and it’s hard to envisage them not being right up there for Christmas (Top at Christmas 2016/17 market has them trading around 2.68/5). The Eagles on the other hand have won one of their last four in the league and that was against a very poor Sunderland side at Selhurst Park where they found themselves 2-0 down with just 30 mins left.
At home Palace struggled last season, losing 10 of their 19 games, only Aston Villa lost more at home (12) and with no clean sheets so far this season (home or away) for Alan Pardrew’s men, he must think he has to score at some point to have any chance of getting anything out of this game.
Liverpool have no injury worries and although Daniel Sturridge scored twice midweek against Spurs, he might still only find himself on the bench such is the strength of this fully fit squad. The atmosphere around Anfield at the minute is very positive and the fans and players are now be starting to believe that they are true title contenders this season.
Palace v Liverpool games tend to yield goals, there hasn’t been a 0-0 between them at Selhurst Park in the Premier League era, and both teams have scored in their last eight meetings in all competitions. I don’t see any reason why those trends won’t continue, I will be backing Liverpool/Over 2.5 goals in the Match Odds & Over/Under 2.5 Goals market but won’t take anything less than 2.77/4.