The international break is almost over, hallelujah. Which means it’s almost time for Liverpool to head to South London to take on Crystal Palace. Which is rather less something to get hallelujah about but at least marks the return of proper Liverpool football.
Palace, though, are always a difficult opponent for the Reds, no matter their table position, and Liverpool’s upcoming opponents say that they’ll be ready for whatever Jürgen Klopp’s title challengers can throw at them come Saturday afternoon.
“They make a conscious effort the first 15 minutes of each half to go full throttle to see, do you want it, do you still want to play?” Palace winger Andros Townsend said in an interview with Premier League Productions ahead of the upcoming match.
“Are you going to still try to play or are you going to just kick it behind? They even did that against Man City. Obviously you approach the games differently, you know you’re not going to get the ball much, you know you have to defend for 90 minutes.”
Frustrate first, attack second. It’s not exactly giving away state secrets for Townsend to share Palace’s approach towards the game—it’s how Palace always approach Liverpool. How they always approach any top sides, when you get down to it.
The question, as it often is, will be execution. Palace’s defensive execution and their ability to capitalise on what few chances they do get on the counter versus Liverpool’s execution in possession as they try to break down a stubborn defence.
“Even as a winger you need to be a defender first and then counter-attack,” Townsend added. “It’s going to be difficult, but if you defend well and take your chances you can definitely pull a shock, which we’ve proven we can do.”