Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Preview: Klopp Can’t Play It Safe Again

Posted By High Press 10 on June 23, 2020

Who: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
When: Wednesday, June 24th @ 2:00pm ET
LineLiverpool -400 | Draw +525 | Crystal Palace +1050

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Sunday was not the kind of restart that Liverpool supporters wanted. It was a listless performance lacking intensity and urgency. It was being content with a draw. The Reds first Premier League title is still five points away.

The betting public has certainly soured on Liverpool after Sunday’s performance. They’ve bet the line down from -450 to -400 for Liverpool / +1300 to +1050 for Palace over the past 48 hours.

However, the public is usually wrong. Let’s look at the match.

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Preview

Jurgen Klopp has masterfully used his subs all season. Until Sunday.

Liverpool struggled creating opportunities out of the midfield against Everton. This has been an issue at times during the season. Usually, the front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane create some magic moment to bail the Reds out. However, Salah was deemed not fit to start and was on the bench. In his place was Takumi Minamino, who was solid though not spectacular.

Klopp subbed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in for Minamino instead of for one of his midfielders. Ox has been more effective in the midfield during his time at Liverpool, where his pace and penetration helps break down defenses. Also, he’s among the better long-range bombers in the league.

Klopp inexplicably subbed in Gini Wijnaldum for Naby Keita at the 65th minute. Naby had basically his best domestic game for the Reds ever (a solid 6.5 rating!) and was the main midfield penetrator. Gini is used more as a workman. The sub didn’t make sense. Ox should’ve gone in for Fabinho, Hendo moves to the 6, and Salah goes in for Minamino. That rotation produces a goal and win.

Unfortunately as James Milner and Joe Matip both went down with injuries, Klopp ran out of time / chances to get Salah on the pitch. His fresh legs would’ve, in theory, been a difference maker in the game’s waning moments.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying: Klopp messed up on Sunday. His subs were off. He played too conservatively. But he usually gets his fixes spot on. Expect him to do so on Wednesday vs Palace.

On that note, Palace are one of the surprise teams this season. They continue to defy xG / xPTS models. Their xPTS for the season is 10 less than their total tally. But they keep getting it done with smoke/mirrors/duct tape, like with their 2-0 win over Bournemouth this weekend.

Their biggest problem is they don’t score. With just 28 goals all season, they’re 19th out of 20 in the league. And those numbers aren’t deceiving either. They’re xG is 28 goals, also leaving them 19th out of 20.

Their best player, Wilfried Zaha, isn’t a goal machine (3 all season). Jordan Ayew is in his prime and having a solid year with 9 goals. There just isn’t a ton of creativity creating open looks. Only two players on the squad (Zaha and James McArthur) have more than 1 single assist for the season, and they both just have 3.

Assuming Joe Gomez will be paired next to Virgil van Dijk, and Andy Robertson is back and ready, Palace don’t have he weapons to challenge Liverpool.

Prediction

The public is betting the line down. The public is usually wrong. Klopp course-corrects and Liverpool get back on track with a 2-0 win.

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High Press 10 covers general global soccer stories and news. He / she finds the quality of soccer in Bend It Like Beckham to be on par with u8 rec.

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