Michael Lintorn is confident that Liverpool and Crystal Palace will again provide neutrals with heaps of entertainment…
Liverpool 1.71 v Crystal Palace 6.00; The Draw 4.00
The Jurgen Klopp era began underwhelmingly with three successive draws against Tottenham, Rubin Kazan and Southampton – the latter two at Anfield – but the next three games have done a great job of cranking up the exuberance.
If a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth had already been established as par by Brendan Rodgers in August, the two scorelines that followed certainly exceeded expectations as Liverpool won 3-1 at Chelsea, a first success over them in three-and-a-half years, and then 1-0 in Russia against Rubin.
The injury bulletin is rather grim, with Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez, Kolo Toure, Jordan Henderson, Jordan Rossiter, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge all sidelined, yet they seem to be coping so far.
A little air has escaped the Crystal Palace balloon lately, as a four-match winless run knocked them out of the Capital One Cup and dropped them down to tenth in the Premier League from a previous high of second, though the most recent result of the four was the most promising.
Sure, a goalless draw against Manchester United is no novelty at present, but it was the first time in six attempts this season that they collected points against a team above them, which is a useful habit ahead of a clash with a Liverpool side one point and two places better off.
As has been the case for much of the campaign, there are selection issues up front, where Alan Pardew anticipates being without Marouane Chamakh and Connor Wickham again, with Dwight Gayle facing a late fitness test. Lee Chung-yong is also a doubt, whereas Pape Souare should return.
This is a very rare scenario whereby whatever you foresee the outcome being, you are likely to find the price pretty appealing.
Liverpool are often found at far shorter odds than 1.71 when in far worse form than right now to beat clubs below them at home, while Palace backers will deem 5.00 a meaty mark-up for a squad that triumphed 3-1 at Anfield on Steven Gerrard Appreciation Day in May. They have conquered Stamford Bridge, St Mary’s, the King Power Stadium and the Boleyn Ground since Pardew’s January arrival too.
However, this writer judges the Reds to be the more enticing option. They are undefeated in 12 where their guests haven’t prevailed in four, plus Pardew’s away magic appears to finally be wearing off. Having won ten of his initial 12 road trips, he has hit a sequence of one in four, with each of the other results being losses – at Tottenham, Leicester and Man City.
Both Teams to Score
It is surprising that this is a 2.00 prospect given the both-teams-to-score form that this fixture showcases. The last six meetings between the pair, including all five since the Londoners regained Premier League status in 2013, have been devoid of clean sheets, with the top-flight quartet delivering three 3-1s and a 3-3.
Liverpool have fired just one blank in their past 13 home encounters, yet Bournemouth are the only of their last 11 visitors that they have managed to shut out.
Similarly, Palace have failed to net in a mere four of their 16 away outings under Pardew – striking three times when last at Anfield – but restricted only one of their previous dozen hosts to a zero.
Back both teams to score @ 2.00