Liverpool produced an impressive victory in their English Premier League soccer opener but there are still reasons to believe they may not come away with all three points from their visit to Crystal Palace on Monday (3pm ET).
Liverpool won 2-1 when the sides last met at Selhurst Park in March, but the scoreline didn’t give the full picture of a match that Palace could have drawn or even won had Christian Benteke not missed a pair of excellent chances – a familiar story throughout the campaign.
Palace ended a season that began with the short and disastrous reign of Frank de Boer in 11th after Roy Hodgson stepped in to settle the ship. Indeed, Hodgson did much more than that, producing a solid and well-organised unit with enough attacking firepower to comfortably secure safety and do so with some quietly impressive underlying statistics.
Those numbers suggested Palace could have enjoyed a goal difference at least 10 goals better than the reality. Take out their atrocious start to the campaign, in which they failed to score while conceding 17 times in seven consecutive defeats, sprinkle in a bit more good fortune here and there and a top eight finish wouldn’t have been outside the realms of possibility.
Hodgson certainly has his detractors, not least among those who witnessed first-hand his brief and unsuccessful spell at Liverpool, but he knows how to craft compact teams capable of getting results. That much was evident in Palace’s 2-0 win away to Fulham a week ago.
The hosts dominated possession and marginally outshot Palace, but Hodgson’s side held their shape and posed a threat whenever they moved forward on the counter-attack. Patrick van Aanholt slipped Jeffrey Schlupp into the area for a powerful finish to give them a late first-half lead, and Wilfried Zaha then added a second towards the end of a second half in which Palace gained control and were rarely troubled.
Liverpool produced a more dominant performance in their 4-0 win at home to West Ham a day later, enjoying the lion’s share of possession, shots and territory as they got their campaign off to an excellent start. Mohamed Salah opened the scoring 20 minutes in, before a Sadio Mane double either side of half-time all but ended the match as a contest. Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to add another late on.
It was a display that suggested Liverpool’s status with the best offshore American sports betting sites as the most likely challengers to reigning champions Manchester City is justified. A late-season slump as focus shifted to the Champions League saw them end up fourth last year, but they clearly improved as the campaign went on. After a topsy turvy start, they only lost three times from the end of October onwards, and their defence became visibly stronger as the season progressed.
The club moved quickly in this summer’s transfer market to strengthen the remaining problem areas, spending a total of £150 million on goalkeeper Alisson and midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita. The result is that coach Jurgen Klopp now has a squad at his disposal that looks better placed to challenge for the title.
That doesn’t mean that teams like Palace should necessarily believe they will be incapable of picking up a result against them. Klopp has clearly formed a highly potent attacking unit, second only to that of City last season, but his team still sometimes fail to break down stubborn opponents. Liverpool drew home and away to Everton and West Bromwich Albion last season and drew at home and lost away to both Chelsea and Manchester United.
If Palace can maintain their shape and take advantage of any opportunities to counter attack, there is no reason why they can’t get the result they probably deserved in last season’s equivalent fixture and take at least a point from Liverpool on Monday night.
Our Preview’s Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool Betting Predictions & Picks Verdict
- Bet on Crystal Palace +1 on the spread @ +170 (17/10) with Intertops.