If it seems like we've been here before--like, very recently before--it's because we have. Another two weeks without a league match to follow as World Cup qualifying continues, and another two weeks left to fret over the fitness of a squad that's already succumbed to a number of injuries to first-team regulars. Those happened to occur in Liverpool matches, so we can't blame international duty entirely, but that's more convenient and gives us something fun to complain about.
And as with before, Liverpool have a chance to head into their two weeks off on a high note; last time it was the narrow, nervy 1-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield to seal three wins from three to start the Premier League season, and tomorrow it's an opportunity to take two from two on the heels of a disappointing week that saw the club lose their first match of the season against Southampton and drop out of the League Cup days later at Old Trafford.
Liverpool will look to build off the display (parts of it, at least) at the Stadium of Light, and will be trying to do so against a Crystal Palace side that is desperately in need of points. They currently sit in 19th, two points ahead of Sunderland, with all three coming in their win over the Wearsiders back at the end of August. Since then it's been three consecutive 2-0 defeats, first at Manchester United, then at home to Swansea, and most recently at St. Mary's Stadium last weekend against Southampton.
Ian Holloway has already found himself under pressure after a difficult start that's also seen them drop out of the League Cup to League One side Bristol City. It's a big ask of Holloway given the dearth of quality in the squad; against Southampton he selected Julian Speroni in goal, Joel Ward, Adrian Mariappa, Daniel Gabbidon, and Dean Moxey at the back, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Mile Jedinak, and Barry Bannan in the midfield, with Dwight Gayle, Jimmy Kebe, and Marouane Chamakh responsible for attacking duties and Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips adding depth off the bench.
Toure Skrtel Sakho
Sterling Gerrard Henderson Enrique
If Rodgers' quotes from yesterday hold true, this will be the last time we have to run through an extended injury list in the preview. Liverpool will again be without Philippe Coutinho, Glen Johnson, Aly Cissokho, and Joe Allen, but all are expected to be back in contention after the international break. Sebastian Coates remains the only long-term injury concern, as he won't be anywhere near fit until well after the new year. Lucas will miss out due to a one-match ban incurred via five yellow cards on the season.
The biggest question (aside from the formation) in an otherwise settled defense is if Daniel Agger comes back into the eleven; Martin Skrtel's been anywhere from solid to fantastic since getting his first start of the season against Swansea City, and if Agger isn't yet fit, there's no question that Skrtel should continue alongside Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho. I think Rodgers opts to go 3-5-2 again, and it's those three he picks.
What'll be most interesting to see is how he fills the gap at right wingback, with Jordan Henderson largely expected to shift centrally and vacate the position he filled against Manchester United and Sunderland. If he remains, I'm not sure who partners Steven Gerrard in central midfield, so I'll guess Raheem Sterling comes in as a one-off, as he featured exclusively in that role during his brief time on the pitch. Martin Kelly is also a possibility, but it doesn't appear that he's ready for a full shift just yet.
If it's Henderson and Gerrard deeper and Sterling at wingback, the role behind the strikers will again fall to Victor Moses. It would be nice to see Luis Alberto, but he was curiously absent in the squad to face Sunderland and doesn't look set to start in a match that seems as good a time as any to see what he can offer. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will lead the attack in tandem, hopefully building on the very promising signs their partnership produced in the win last weekend.
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM BST/10:00AM EST, and it'll be aired live on NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra in the US. No listings are currently available for England. We'll have the overnight thread later on tonight, and the matchday post will run as usual earlier in the day tomorrow, with team sheets, viewing options, and any other relevant information ahead of the start time. Hope you'll be around to join us, and that Liverpool can head into the international break on a positive note.