Odds: Crystal Palace 5/2, The Draw 11/2, Liverpool 11/10
Crystal Palace and their Selhurst Park home have occupied a dark, dark corner of the Liverpool psyche ever since the fateful night in May 2014,when they applied the coup de grace to the Reds’ chances of lifting a first top-flight title since 1989/90 thanks to three goals in the last 11 minutes.
The Eagles have held the sign over the Anfield side subsequently, with the exception of one FA Cup defeat, winning all three Premier League games the clubs have contested in the meantime, including when utterly ruining the mood of Steven Gerrard’s farewell to the ground he had served so well.
Revenge and the exorcising of ghosts is, thus, a sizeable part of the narrative every time the two cross paths and seldom can Liverpool have been so convinced that they will get their retribution than on this latest trip to Selhurst.
If the Premier League had started at Christmas, Alan Pardew’s men would have been playing the role reality has reserved for Aston Villa.
No side has accumulated fewer points in 2016 and they’ve avoided defeats just twice in nine divisional outings.
Contrastingly, the Reds arrive at the scene of their nadir with the taste of sweet revenge still in their mouths after utterly outplaying their Capital One Cup conquerors Manchester City in midweek.
Their increasingly-stringent defence has allowed just one strike across the last five games too.
Yet the suspicion is that they will once again pass up the opportunity to comprehensively dismiss their Palace hoodoo.
Win, Lose or Draw?
Liverpool played City off the park on Wednesday night in a manner that will be worrying for anyone of a Red persuasion, so rarely have they performed in the matches that have followed their best and most high-scoring showings under Jurgen Klopp.
They were (just about) able to follow up their 4-1 Etihad victory over the Citizens earlier this term, beating Bordeaux 2-1 next time out, but a shock 2-0 loss to lowly Newcastle followed the next bonanza, the 6-1 stomping of Southampton.
More recently they put six past Aston Villa for no reply, before being held 0-0 by Augsburg in the adjoining fixture.
Their visit to Selhurst Park will be their fourth fixture in ten days, including the penalty shootout loss to City at Wembley. Palace will have played once less and have begun to show signs of waking from their post-Christmas torpor in recent showings.
Prior to two-goal hauls against West Brom and Sunderland, the Eagles hadn’t bagged more than once in the league since December 19th.
All of their victories over Liverpool since returning to the top flight have come in spite of them conceding and while they can rubberstamp their renaissance by downing the boom-then-bust-visitors it’s unlikely they will do so without shipping at least once.
Pardew’s troops’ last two outings have treated viewers to a total of nine strikes, with the Eagles both scoring and allowing (at least) a brace on each occasions.
Given a victory with both teams to bag is anticipated, the bwin layers assessment of the over 2.5 landscape should be snapped up
Who will do the damage?
Give the propensity of Pardew’s teams to go on lengthy winning or losing streaks it was always only a matter of time before he signed similarly hot and cold hitman Connor Wickham.
Having scored once in his first 14 games since arriving from Sunderland the ‘Wickerman’ has bagged four times in his last two outings and is unlikely to be denied.
This season Palace league games have seen 26 first-half goals and 42 after the interval, while Liverpool matches’ second periods have outscored their firsts by a margin of 47 strikes to 30.