The Big Match Tactical View: Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers has endured a difficult few weeks
Brendan Rodgers has endured a difficult few weeks
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Liverpool return to the scene of last season's dramatic collapse - can Brendan Rodgers' side get revenge? Michael Cox looks at the tactics, while Alan Thompson provides the betting lowdown...

"Mile Jedinak takes penalties and is also an aerial threat"

Back Jedinak as First Goalscorer @ 22.021/1

Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Sunday, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports 1

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 4.67/2, Liverpool 1.9210/11, The Draw 3.711/4.

A trip to Selhurst Park will bring back unhappy memories for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool, who blew a 3-0 lead here on the final Monday of last season, effectively ending their chances of winning the Premier League title.

That feels an eternity ago, with so much happening at both clubs. Tony Pulis has left Crystal Palace to be replaced by Neil Warnock, while Liverpool have gone from title challengers to outsiders for a Champions League spot.

Both teams, meanwhile, are in terrible form - both have lost their last two. With questions marks about the defences, there could be plenty of goals in this one.

Warnock has largely stuck to the Pulis template, realising his predecessor created a winning formula in the second half of last season, and is likely to set out in a 4-4-1-1 formation. He'll welcome back Mile Jedinak after the Australian was suspended for the trip to Old Trafford last time out, but it's difficult to see many selection decisions.

A counter-attacking system based around Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie seems most likely, with Warnock probably asking his team to target Liverpool's full-backs, who have often been guilty of defensive errors this season.

Warnock is also likely to instruct Marouane Chamakh to mark Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool skipper should be refreshed after the international break and more lively than usual, but Chamakh has played a surprisingly effective defensive role against good opponents since his move to Palace, and could make things difficult for Gerrard. He'll also act as a target for long balls, hoping to combine with Fraizer Campbell.

Liverpool have suffered yet another setback with Daniel Sturridge likely to be out for another few weeks, which means misfiring Mario Balotelli should continue upfront. In fairness, the Italian hasn't been particularly bad in his last couple of games, and sometimes it appears he's the target of unfair criticism - but the fact remains that he's failed to find the target in the Premier League.

Between Gerrard and Balotelli, we can expect to find Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, although it remains to be seen in what system - it could be a 4-2-3-1, a 4-3-3, a 4-3-2-1 - the options are almost endless because of the versatility, although that's not necessarily a good thing when Rodgers is struggling to find balance and reliable combinations in the final third.

Palace are likely to defend narrow, however, which means Sterling might find some joy on the flanks. Having initially excelled in a number ten role, Sterling has found life more difficult in recent weeks, and it could be worth giving him some time and space out near the touchlines, particularly as Jedinak protects the defence excellently. Palace aren't as organised as under Pulis, particularly at defensive transitions, and the full-backs can be left unattended.

Lallana and Coutinho, who have shown some nice touches in recent weeks, could support Balotelli more closely. Henderson hasn't been at his best recently, looks somewhat tired, and has found it more difficult to make his powerful forward runs, so could play a more reserved role to prevent counter-attacks.

Aside from counters, Palace will also threaten from set-pieces. They have some tall players, and Liverpool have consistently struggled when defending corners under Rodgers. There has also been plenty of clumsy defending, and Jedinak - who takes penalties and is also an aerial threat - could be a decent first goalscorer bet at 22.021/1.

I fancy goals here, although the market doesn't look particularly enticing in that respect. Liverpool seem a little underpriced, though - Palace aren't in great form, but they'll give Rodgers' side a game. I'll lay Liverpool at 1.9210/11

Recommended Bets
Back Mile Jedinak as First Goalscorer @ 22.021/1
Lay Liverpool @ 1.9210/11

The Betfair Trader's View: Alan Thompson

I don’t think many Liverpool fans will want to remember their last visit to Selhurst Park, 3-0 up with less than 15 minutes to go they effectively threw away any remaining chances of winning the Premier League, conceding three goals and drawing 3-3 in that incredible game.

The international break may have come at a good time for Palace as they were struggling. No wins and no clean sheets from their last five starts, they have conceded 20 goals (only QPR have conceded more) and registered just two wins so far this season. Liverpool themselves though weren’t exactly flying before the break, failing to win any of their last three, losing two and now news that Daniel Sturridge could be out for another six weeks and Mario Balotelli is reported to have picked up a hamstring injury on duty with Italy, neither side are in great shape coming into this.

Liverpool with just one clean sheet in their last eight starts and Palace’s poor defensive record, it is fair to assume that there could be some goals in this. Therefore, I will be splitting my stake, having half on Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.8 before kick-off and half on Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.3 (with a keep bet to be matched in play).

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