Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Saturday 12:30, Sky Sports 1.
Match Odds: Crystal Palace 7.06/1, Liverpool 1.558/15, The Draw 4.67/2
Benteke and Hodgson out for revenge?
Liverpool face two old foes here - two former employees who both have much better records against Liverpool than they had for them.
Centre-forward Christian Benteke has scored six goals in eight games against the Reds but never truly fitted into their philosophy, while manager Roy Hodgson has won three of five Premier League games against them, but his record at Anfield as manager was very underwhelming. If Palace are to spring a surprise here, it will depend largely upon Hodgson's organisation, and perhaps upon Benteke's aerial power too.
Palace are a peculiar side this season. Having started the season in dreadful form they recovered under Hodgson but have slumped since the start of the new year, struggling badly to collect points amongst a serious injury crisis. Hodgson is still without several crucial players, but his star man should be fit to start here - Wilfried Zaha came home early from international duty with a slight muscle strain, but is likely to be fit to start.
Zaha the main danger
Zaha has probably been the Premier League's best performer amongst the bottom half clubs this season, and his return will lift spirits hugely. Hodgson is likely to deploy him as a second forward, just off Benteke and floating towards the left flank. Liverpool are likely to be without right-back Joe Gomez, and therefore it will probably fall to Trent Alexander-Arnold to stop Zaha.
Palace's other threat will come from the opposite flank. Andros Townsend plays a deeper role as part of the midfield quartet, but is excellent at roaring forward on the counter-attack, turning defence into attack quickly. His battle with Andrew Robertson, who has a fine record of blunting opposition danger man this season, could be crucial.
And then there's Benteke, who has troubled Liverpool in the past with his aerial dominance, although these days Jurgen Klopp can call upon the most aerially powerful centre-back combination Liverpool have offered for some time. Virgil van Dijk has the height but also the positional discipline, while Joel Matip is also capable in this respect. Set-pieces have been a concern for Liverpool this season, and this is where Benteke - who, it must be said, has not been prolific this season - might threaten most.
Can Palace stop Salah?
Klopp can, in theory, field his first-choice attacking trio. Sadio Mane has taken something of a back-seat role this season but his speed down the right remains a huge threat, with Roberto Firmino playing upfront, and adding poacher's goals to his game in addition to his pressing and clever link play.
But the main threat is obviously Mohamed Salah, whose four-goal haul last time out means he could well break the Premier League's all-time goalscoring record for a single season. Patrick van Aanholt, Palace's left-back, is somewhat more comfortable when pushing forward then when defending, and Hodgson will presumably ask his left-winger, probably the converted central midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, to drop back to protect Van Aanholt whenever possible.
Liverpool should get the upper hand in the centre. Emre Can is out, so Jordan Henderson is likely to play behind Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum, who offer the mobility and pressing capacity to overrun Palace. Expect Liverpool to dominate, but Palace to threaten on the break.
It's also worth remembering that Liverpool have been affected more seriously by the international break, and have a crucial Champions League fixture in midweek against Manchester City. Therefore, Klopp's tactical preparation will have been minimal, and he might think about resting some players too.
Therefore, I fancy Palace to get a result here. Hodgson's side have a habit of causing shocks at home, and therefore I'll lay Liverpool at 1.558/15, which seems a little short.