RAWK Preview: Liverpool v Crystal Palace Saturday 5th K.O.15:00

Posted by Number 7 on October 2, 2013, 04:43:14 AM

You'd have to go back to 2005 to find out the last time Liverpool played Crystal Palace. Liverpool wore the prestigious tag of being current European Champions at the time. Just 6 months earlier they had taken part in of the most memorable games in the clubs history. Istanbul was still fresh in the air, and the buzz of winning their 5th European Cup still had everyone bouncing with a spring in their step.

The Eagles brushed us aside that day in a League Cup encounter that included the likes of Liverpool legends such as Gerrard and Hyypia, and other supporting cast who had played a major role in Istanbul like Hamann and Luis Garcia. Gerrard scored in the game, but Liverpool's pressure was to no avail.

I don't remember it of course. League Cup defeats over the years don't really set off a lightbulb in my mind. What I do remember though - very faintly - was an FA Semi Final against them in 1990. I remember us going in as hot favourites, only to majestically cock it up and end up losing 4-3 in extra time. I remember spending the entire game watching in awe and refusing to believe that we'd actually lose. We were terribly undone by set pieces, and Palace went through to the Final leaving me quite shellshocked. I'd ponder over defeats in those times for days upon end. We were Liverpool, we were invincible but Crystal Palace beat us. When you're young those things are hard to decipher. Strangely enough, Liverpool had beaten Palace 9-0 just earlier that season in a league game in September.


Liverpool fans are all too familiar with the threat of administration, but that's exactly what happened to Palace in 2010 with debts of around £30 million. You never want to wish that on any club, especially a club that was founded over a 100 years ago. So, it was welcome news later that year when they reported they were out of administration. Ironically, one player that had to sell when going in to administration was none other than our very own (or our loaned very own) Victor Moses. Yes....Victor Moses used to play for Crystal Palace. I know!.....I didn't know either. So, go on Moses score against your former club - you won't have to celebrate.

Ian Holloway once said that Charlie Adam was 'our Alonso' - we just needed to buy him. Adam did eventually turn up at Liverpool, and lasted all of one season. Alonso wasn't exactly quaking in his boots. Holloway has done well to get them promoted, although he hasn't really been in charge for one whole season. His press conferences are always enlightening so I'll be keeping an eye out on what he has to say this Thursday.

On to the game.....

Palace haven't started off well. We have. They're second from bottom, we're second from top. Of course in today's Premier League that means absolute bugger all. Any team can beat anyone other on their day - as this past weekend's results illustrated perfectly. This should be a routine win. Right? A home banker...of sorts. Or shall we just say a 'win'. It's a potential banana skin, but unless you're playing one of the top sides these days what game isn't? We haven't been notorious as of late winning games at Anfield that we should be winning easily, but we really should win this game. We'd be on another high going in to the second international break of the season, either top or 2nd if we were to gain victory. We'll have a week's rest in between so there should really be no excuses.

They've got Marouane Chamakh who's scored at Anfield before, when Reina missed the ball in the sun. Cameron Jerome was that guy who scored a belter at Anfield once while playing for Birmingham City, right? I believe Palace like to pass it around a bit (haven't seen an awful lot of them), which should suit us as we have more problems with bullish teams who came at you.

Who replaces Lucas? Allen is probably still not fit so I'd like to see Henderson in the middle with Gerrard. If the midfield has looked laboured of late, conceding too much possession, we'll now see if anything changes with the energy of Henderson in there. I know there are still Lucas doubters aplenty (not me) so we'll see if his absence hurts us or not. If we're going to stick with the 3-5-2 Henderson will most likely vacate the right wing-back role, with Sterling most likely to fill it. Although, I wouldn't be adverse to seeing Moses there and Alberto given a run in the hole. Alberto is the most natural replacement for Coutinho as a #10, so what better game to play him than at home against a struggling side. And besides we have to bed him in at some point.

I'd personally stick with the same back 3, and I'm struggling to see how Agger gets back in the team on current form. Sakho is a beast, Toure is a beast and Skrtel has exceeded expectations so far this season. The only way I can see Agger coming back in is if he replaces Sakho, and quite honestly I don't want Sakho departing the first 11 right now.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge - fresh off their devastating display against Sunderland - should again see some joy in the final third.

All in all, I expect to see a good performance and go at them right off the bat. None of that giving them too much respect malarkey. We're a better team than them, so if we do the basics right our class should see us through.
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