Considering that Liverpool have won each of their last six Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace one would be entitled to assume that Jurgen Klopp's men rarely have much difficulty at all against the Eagles. That would not be the case.
Ever since 'Crystanbul' - the night Liverpool's charge for the 2013-14 title ran aground at Selhurst Park - Palace have relished the chance to give the Reds a bloody nose and have come close on several occasions. Two of their last three games have seen dramatic late goals with Roberto Firmino denying Roy Hodgson's side a point in dramatic fashion when the two teams last met in south London in November 2019.
Having fought so hard to regain top spot from Tottenham in midweek Liverpool will be loath to let it slip by dropping points on the road. Here's how you can watch the match and what to know:
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 19
- Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
- Location: Selhurst Park -- London, United Kingdom
- TV: NBCSN
- Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: Crystal Palace +550; Draw +340; Liverpool -200 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Crystal Palace: It is a cruel blow for Christian Benteke that just as he was rounding into form he finds himself banned from a meeting with the club and manager who so swiftly moved him aside in 2016. The Belgian international had scored a brace in a demolition of West Bromwich Albion and netted a fine header at West Ham before being sent off in what Palace boss Roy Hodgson labelled "ludicrous" circumstances, the target man adjudged to have jumped dangerously by using his arms.
In Benteke's absence Hodgson could opt to lean further into his side's counter-attacking qualities with the likes of Jordan Ayew, Ebere Eze and Wilfried Zaha well-suited to probing any gaps in behind Liverpool's full-backs.
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Liverpool: In midfield at least there are signs that Liverpool's injury crisis is starting to ease at just the right moment with a hectic festive fixture list ahead. Naby Keita was able to return to the bench against Spurs - and might have come on for the final minutes had Firmino not netted late on after a tight muscle ruled him out against Fulham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to training last week after being sidelined since August.
Thiago Alcantara has also made steps on his road to recovery and was pictured undergoing indoor fitness sessions ahead of a possible return in the new year.
Palace rarely make it easy for the Premier League champions but Liverpool ought to have enough in the tank to get three points. PICK: Liverpool (-200)