Since Crystal Palace's re-ascension to the Premier League in 2013/14, they've handed Liverpool some of their most painful moments, including the infamous 3-3 draw at the end of the title run, and two 3-1 defeats last campaign. While wins at Stamford Bridge and in Russia were huge moments for new manager Jürgen Klopp, a victory over Crystal Palace could represent just as big of a step forward.
On Liverpool, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew was both complimentary of the Reds, and confusing, seeming to mistake Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool with Klopp's.
"I thought they've got a top-four squad in the summer, and that hasn't changed despite the change in manager. They're Liverpool, they should be top four. I think [Christian] Benteke is a terrific player, and Klopp has arrived with great players there."
Thought it is true that Klopp arrived with great players, Pardew failed to mention the improved results the new boss has had with those players. Moreover, he brought up Liverpool's defense as a weakness to exploit, and Philippe Countinho as one of the Top 5 attackers in England. The statements seem to both overstate Liverpool's weakness, and overstate (and misattribute) their strength.
"We have to focus on what they're not good at and defending is an issue at the club so we'll look to exploit that," Pardew explained, seeming content to ignore the 0.5 goals per game so far conceded under Klopp. About Coutinho, Pardew said, "And I don't think anyone in the Premier League would disagree that he's been in the top five players offensively this year, so he's somebody we need to take care of."
I don't know if many Liverpool fans would rate Coutinho that highly, even after his two-goal performance against Chelsea.
Perhaps I'm already spoiled by Klopp's humorous and blunt pressers, but Pardew appeared to come off quite poorly from these remarks. Although Klopp is utilizing many of the same players as Rodgers did, the team as a whole has been joyfully unrecognizable from the side that drew 1-1 in the Merseyside Derby.
Another big match awaits us tomorrow, and then a well deserved rest for Klopp & Co.