Betting preview: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace - Mane can strike in Reds win

Jurgen Klopp's men have started the season strongly and can get three more points at Anfield, but perhaps not with a clean sheet.

Crystal Palace fans making their way to Anfield on Saturday would usually be dreading the trip, it has not been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons. The 7-0 slapping they got just before Christmas 2020 at Selhurst Park will also have left some scars.

But this is a new Palace under Patrick Vieira, who now appear to be gelling nicely. Conor Gallagher is driving the midfield, and most importantly it looks like they've found someone in Odsonne Edouard who knows where the back of the net is.

This won't be an easy game for Palace, but it won't be a walk in the park for Liverpool either.

When: Saturday, September 18, 3pm BST

Where: Anfield

Follow this game via our score centre

Best bets

Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 17/10

Sadio Mane to be first Liverpool goalscorer at 14/5

Andy Robertson to assist a goal at 13/5

Four games into the new season and, while not quite perfect, Liverpool have come out of the blocks quickly.

A pair of 3-0 away wins at Norwich and Leeds along with a 2-0 home success over Burnley weren't unexpected but they still played some impressive stuff.

And while frustrating, the 1-1 home draw against 10-man Chelsea meant they didn't lose any ground to an obvious title rival.

To give it some context, the Reds managed just a single point in the equivalent fixtures against Burnley, Chelsea and Leeds last season (Norwich were in the Championship) so this already feels more like Jurgen Klopp's team from the 2018/19 and 2019/20 campaigns.

Part of the return to normality is due to the welcome sight of Virgil van Dijk again.

With the Dutchman already looking in the groove alongside Joel Matip in central defence - such a problem area for Liverpool last season - the Merseysiders have conceded just a single goal.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that when he sat out the midweek 3-2 Champions League win over AC Milan, Liverpool conceded twice in a mad two-minute spell before half-time.

Crystal Palace have also started pretty well in relative terms.

They lost their opener to Chelsea as expected but have picked up five points since to make a mockery of claims in some quarters that they might finish bottom this season.

Patrick Vieira's side head to Anfield in 11th spot and hoping to extend their unbeaten run to four games after draws against Brentford and West Ham and last week's excellent 3-0 rout of previous leaders Spurs.

Last three matches

Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace (Premier League - May 23, 2021)

After an injury-ravaged season and rash of home defeats that left their Champions League qualification in serious doubt, Liverpool's late push saw them clinch third place thanks to a Sadio Mane double.

After slipping to eighth in March, the Reds won their final five Premier League games and completed the job here with a goal either side of the interval in a match watched by 10,000 fans at Anfield as COVID rules were relaxed a little.

Mane prodded home in the 36th minute to ease nerves and then wrapped up victory with a deflected strike after 74. The win meant Liverpool won their two games against Palace in 2020/21 by an aggregate of 9-0.

Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool (Premier League - December 19, 2020)

This could have been a tricky test but, instead, Liverpool went mad and scored an away top-flight win by a margin of seven goals for the first time in their history. It put them five points clear at the top but this was to prove the Reds' peak moment and their form dipped badly over the next few months.

Takumi Minamino set them on the way inside three minutes and they were 3-0 up at the break through further goals from Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Firmino netted again after the break, Jordan Henderson fired home and Mo Salah got in on the act with two late strikes as Liverpool seemed to be holding their own goal-of-the-month competition.

Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace (June 24, 2020)

After the inevitable was delayed by the Premier League shutting down during the pandemic, this was the game that took Liverpool to the brink of their first league title in 30 years, a feat confirmed a day later when Manchester City lost at Chelsea.

A performance befitting would-be champions, the Reds went in front via a curling Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick midway through the first half and Salah fired in a second before half-time.

Man-of-the-match Fabinho thumped home a brilliant third after the break and Salah set up Mane with a superb pass to complete the rout, Liverpool finishing the night 23 points clear.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Liverpool wins: 9

Draws: 0

Crystal Palace wins: 1

Liverpool goals: 29

Crystal Palace goals: 11

Liverpool for the win but Palace can pinch a goal

Klopp made some changes for the visit of AC Milan in midweek with starts given to Divock Origi and Joe Gomez.

It's a balancing act at this time of the season but it worked out as the hosts came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in a match they clearly dominated either side of those two Rossoneri sucker punches.

They're just 1/5 to gain what would be a ninth straight victory over the Crystal Palace but that's obviously way too short.

However, the price becomes palatable if we give Palace a goal. Liverpool to win and both teams to score is priced at 17/10.

So are there good enough grounds to do so?

Well, Palace have scored five goals in their last two games after firing blanks for the first two and there's some confidence going forward.

Conor Gallagher bagged a brace in the 2-2 draw at West Ham and new signing Odsonne Edouard made a stunning impact on debut with two goals in the 3-0 victory over Spurs.

Liverpool have conceded three in three at home so far compared to two shoutouts out of two on the road so, overall, it's worth a punt that they win without keeping a clean sheet.

Palace didn't manage a goal at Anfield in 2020 or 2021 but prior to that they'd netted in seven of their last eight visits.

Goalscorer bets

Perhaps Klopp rested Sadio Mane from his starting XI against Milan so he could unleash him on Palace.

The Senegalese has a ridiculously good record against the Eagles, scoring in the last eight consecutive Premier League games against them.

At Anfield, he's scored five in four after last year's double and, while missing a boatload of chances at Leeds, he did finally get his goal at Elland Road.

That added to a well-taken strike against Burnley at Anfield so he's registered in two of the last three games he's started.

Mo Salah is 15/8 favourite in this market but I can't overlook his strike partner so will back Mane to be first Liverpool scorer at 14/5.

Finally, Alexander-Arnold may have to keep half an eye on Wilfried Zaha so I'll switch to the other flank and back Andy Robertson to assist a goal at 13/5.

The Scot missed the first couple of games after a pre-season injury but he's shaken off the rust and looks back to his usual marauding self again.

He has 30 assists for Liverpool in the last three campaigns and can hopefully set up yet another for one of the Reds' frontmen - preferably Mane - on Saturday.

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