Liverpool will look to keep up their winning ways with a visit to Selhurst Park on Saturday, Crystal Palace remain, for this scribe anyway, a but of a bogey team and given that this is an away match, there’s a bit of foreboding in me as we countdown the hours to kickoff.
Thankfully, though, it looks like one of the most important pieces to Liverpool’s squad will be fit and available for Jurgen Klopp. During his pre-match presser, the gaffer confirmed that Virgil van Dijk would be available for selection this Saturday.
“Virgil is 100 per cent available.”
That’s a pretty blunt and direct statement which maybe fits for the easy, breezy way that the Dutchman plays as the leader of Liverpool’s vaunted backline. Commanding, sure, but also supremely composed and assured. Van Dijk’s most obvious trait, to me, is how implausibly unruffled he is as he snuffs out attacks and clamps down on star attackers.
And given that his work in the previous campaign has risen to the level of being recognized as Ballon d’Or level, it is a great relief to Liverpool fans to know that the big center back is available for this match. Liverpool’s title hopes hinge on the ability of the backline to hold attackers at bay, and with the set up largely being tilted to push both fullbacks up as the source of creativity in the attack, much of that burden falls on the shoulders of the center backs and keeper.
In order to win the title, Liverpool will necessarily need to keep pushing the pace until the other teams play themselves out of it. They’re in a great position now to do just that, with the fixtures coming thick and fast in short order, Liverpool have a golden chance to pull away.
Win one game at a time and continue to force the teams behind them to chase. Bring on Palace, then.