Liverpool will take part in their first home match of the 2017/18 season when they take on Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
We got an opposing view of Saturday’s fixture by speaking to those behind Crystal Palace blog The Eagles Beak.
Did last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Huddersfield come as a bit of a shock? Was the performance as bad as the result suggested?
A section of the fanbase were certainly fearing a defeat against a newly promoted side who are high on confidence, but the manner in which we were beaten was a complete surprise.
The general performance was very poor and each goal was avoidable.
How positive are you that Frank De Boer is the right man to take you forward this season?
Before Huddersfield, most Palace fans were very optimistic about the long-term future under de Boer. His success at Ajax meant that fans expected to climb the table and consolidate our Premier League status.
He appears to be someone who is planning ahead, with academy players featuring heavily in pre-season, and a new style of football.
However, it now seems that he may be trying to change too much, too soon. The players have struggled to adapt to the new system and the complete overhaul of the club’s philosophy could be slightly premature.
The next few months could be defining and if he is to persevere with this new brand of calculated, possession-based football, he needs to ensure the players adapt quickly or we could be in trouble.
You’ve beaten Liverpool at Anfield for the last three seasons in a row. Are you confident that you can get another win on Saturday?
The run at Anfield was fun while it lasted! I can’t see anything past a defeat for us, particularly with Wilfried Zaha absent and our back three looking leaky.
We play a very high line and both Schalke and Huddersfield in the previous two weeks have found getting in behind our defence very easy. A few intricate Liverpool passes, like we saw in the build-up to Sadio Mané’s goal on Saturday, could get your strikers in on goal.
You’ll be without Wilfried Zaha, how big a blow will that be?
It’s a huge blow for Palace. I wrote in pre-season about our lack of a Plan B when Zaha is either man-marked out of a game or is absent, so we will now find out how de Boer wants us to play without our key man.
Clutching at straws slightly, it could actually be a blessing in disguise. Teams are familiar with Zaha playing and will have a plan on how to stop him, although his absence could make us slightly more unpredictable.
FULL-TIME Crystal Palace 0-3 Huddersfield
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 12, 2017
Do you think we’re likely to see the same 3 at the back formation that De Boer played last week against Huddersfield?
De Boer seems to be the type to persevere with his methods until they work, so I would be shocked if he doesn’t start with the same 3-4-3 formation. It’s a bit of a lose-lose situation at the moment.
The system is still yet to flourish and has plenty of weaknesses, but if de Boer changes it now having used it in his first five games, he’ll be accused of being weak for already ditching his philosophy.
Where do you see Liverpool finishing this season and what do you make of them under Jürgen Klopp?
I think Liverpool’s season hinges on the Phillippe Coutinho situation. If he stays and plays as well as he did last season, a top four finish should be the realistic ambition.
If Coutinho goes, I see a huge void in the side that I don’t think any of your current players can fill. The sensible thing to do would be to sell him and spend the money on a replacement.
I’m a huge fan of Klopp and think he’s already done an excellent job at Liverpool. His preference of coaching the players he already has rather than making vast amounts of signings is intriguing, although I feel Liverpool could do with a couple of marquee signings to compete with the rest of the division’s elite clubs.
Which Liverpool player do you fear the most?
I could take a pick at any of the front three. I can see Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah being one of the best attacks in the league this season as they can all play in each other’s position, meaning they can interchange during games and confuse defenders.
Some of their movement and passing against Watford was really enjoyable to watch and they could have a field day against our back three.
Which Crystal Palace player do Liverpool need to be wary of?
The generic answer to this question is Zaha but with him out and Yohan Cabaye a doubt, it’s difficult to pinpoint a threat in our side.
At the end of last season I would have said Christian Benteke but as you found out a few seasons ago, not playing to his strengths really isolates him and makes him look average. If we play slightly more direct on Saturday and Benteke receives the ball quicker, he will cause problems.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is another player to look out for. His powerful runs from midfield made him stand out as our best performer against Huddersfield.
Can you see Crystal Palace making a move to sign Mamadou Sakho towards the end of the transfer window?
We seem to lack money at the moment so no, especially if you’re asking for upwards of £25m. Sakho was so crucial for us and had Sam Allardyce stayed, I think he would already be our player.
However, de Boer has his own plans and seems to be from a similar school of thought as Jürgen Klopp in the way that they would rather spend £30m on two or three players, rather than just one. Saying that, if you let him go to Brighton as is rumoured, don’t expect Palace fans to be too happy!
A year ago Crystal Palace signed Christian Benteke for around £27m, do you think that was good business for the club?
As mentioned above, when we played to his strengths under Sam Allardyce, we all saw why he is regarded as one of the best strikers in the league and he was a key factor in us staying up last season.
We were desperate for a striker last summer and 17 goals in all competitions was a good enough return from Benteke.
Your prediction for Saturday?
I joked on twitter that it could be a repeat of 1989 but I don’t think we’ll lose as heavily as 9-0 this time. We also have a habit of scoring in most games against you so I’ll go Liverpool 3-1 Palace.