Jürgen Klopp described this regenerated team as “Liverpool 2.0”, so many fans are already jumping ahead to dub Jarell Quansah “Van Dijk 2.0”. They are some rather big shoes to step into, but all the reports from the Reds’ academy are positive.
Crystal Palace might be vulnerable right now, but they’re still Crystal Palace and it’s still an away game at Selhurst Park, so a decent acid test awaits for Quansah.
Another bit of pre-match reading for you, as our very own Ben Fisher caught up with Aston Villa’s jet-heeled winger, Moussa Diaby:
The “spoiled” supporters of Crystal Palace will get another glorious treat today against Liverpool. The Eagles’ only win in their previous eight matches came at Turf Moor against Burnley and they have suffered demoralising defeats to Everton, Luton and Bournemouth since. Hodgson took umbrage with the fans booing his side’s dismal efforts against the Cherries on Wednesday. Palace were poor throughout, barely laying a glove on Andoni Iraola’s side, and deserved criticism.
Picking a fight with the supporters is rarely a sensible move, regardless of a person’s standing at the club. Hodgson was never favoured at Anfield in his dreary, short-lived spell as manager, and it is unlikely his popularity will drop to those levels in south London. If he wants to get the supporters back on side, though, he will need his team to show more fight, regardless of the result.
Why do pundits insist on walking menacingly towards the camera these days?
The general consensus seems to be that Crystal Palace without Eberechi Eze, Cheick Doucouré, Tyrick Mitchell or Michael Olise in their starting lineup is a bit like Christmas dinner without the turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and gravy. All apart from Olise are injured, and even with the right winger Hodgson has spoken about managing his game time.
Pre-match predictions of a landslide Liverpool win are now dropping by the bucketload. Remember Crystanbul, though.
The headline from those teamsheets is the return of Alisson in goal for Liverpool, which is obviously a major boon. The Brazilian was an almighty miss during his three-game absence with a hamstring problem.
Jarell Quansah is the other slight surprise (although not to those who watch him regularly), with the 20-year-old handed just a second Premier League start at centre-back in the absence of Joel Matip. The Warrington-born defender has been preferred to Ibrahima Konaté and Joe Gomez.
For Palace, former Liverpool man Nathaniel Clyne makes a start, potentially at left back, while Michael Olise’s demotion to the subs’ bench is a bit puzzling. Maybe a masterplan from Roy. You can never tell.
Crystal Palace XI: Johnstone; Ward, Andersen, Guéhi, Clyne; Richards, Lerma, Schlupp, Hughes; Ayew, Edouard
Subs: Matthews, Tomkins, Olise, Franca, Mateta, Ediowei, Ahamada, Riedewald, Ozoh
Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Quansah, Van Djk, Tsimikas; Endo, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch; Salah, Núñez, Díaz
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Konaté, Jones, Elliott, Bradley, McConnell, Gakpo, Doak
Happy Saturday lunchtime, everyone! It’s Jürgen Klopp’s favourite kick-off ti … sorry, we shouldn’t joke about such things. For all the Liverpool manager’s complaints, however, his team find themselves in the early weekend slot for the 15th time in his eight-year tenure, which is more than double the amount of times many of their ‘big six’ rivals have been allocated it.
Klopp would take three points in any shape or form today, you suspect, as a win would lift Liverpool to the top of the Premier League – even if only for a few hours. Roy Hodgson is at loggerheads with Crystal Palace fans after claiming they were “spoilt” in midweek so he’s got some making up to do. It should all make for rather absorbing Saturday lunchtime viewing. Get your morning pasta down you and enjoy.
Kick-off: 12.30pm GMT.