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Liverpool were thrashed by Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday
The Reds have ground to make up in the race for the top four in the Premier League
Crystal Palace are in danger of being sucked into this season’s relegation battle
The odds for Crystal Palace vs Liverpool have been supplied by the Caesars sportsbook. Sign up today and you can get $1250 on Caesars!
The Reds are not firing on all cylinders and Palace do not score many goals.
Back under 2.5 goals when Liverpool visit Crystal Palace on Saturday. (-105)
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Things were starting to look up for Liverpool. Back-to-back victories over Everton and Newcastle United had boosted their hopes of a top-four finish. But the feel-good factor has since been replaced by a sense of deflation. A 5-2 thrashing by Real Madrid in midweek laid Liverpool’s problems bare.
Needless to say, this has been an extremely frustrating season for the Reds. Tipped as Premier League title contenders before a ball had been kicked, they find themselves eighth in the table as spring approaches. If the campaign were to finish today, Liverpool would not even qualify for the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.
The nadir may well have been Tuesday’s thrashing by Madrid. There is no certainly no shame in losing to the 14-time kings of the continent. But after storming into a 2-0 lead in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at Anfield, it was astonishing to witness Liverpool’s collapse.
In the end, Madrid ran out 5-2 winners - and the damage could have been even worse. There is still a second leg to come, but Liverpool are almost certainly out of the Champions League already. That leaves them with very little left to play for.
Finishing in the top four would salvage something from this otherwise dismal season, and the best online sportsbooks have Liverpool down as favorites to take the final spot behind Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal.
It will be a close-run thing, however. Liverpool are seven points adrift of the top four as things stand.
It is true they have two games in hand on many of the teams above them in the standings, but their patchy form means it is far from guaranteed that Liverpool will collect maximum points from those encounters. And Klopp’s men will not have everything their own way against Crystal Palace either.
Crystal Palace have spent the last few months in mid-table, but that does not mean they are sitting comfortably. A seven-match winless streak has left the Eagles just six points clear of the bottom three, fuelling fears that they could yet be dragged into the relegation battle.
Patrick Vieira’s side came close to ending their run without a victory last time out. Ebere Eze’s header gave them a 1-0 lead over Brentford, and Palace remained ahead until deep into stoppage time.
However, Vitaly Janelt scored with virtually the last touch of the match to deny Palace what would have been the first triumph of 2023 in any competition. “This is the frustration I have at the minute: a lot of games we have played lately, all we are missing is three points,” Vieira told reporters after the final whistle.
The south Londoners have shown plenty of grit and resolve in recent weeks. A more positive interpretation of their form would focus on the fact Palace have lost only one of their last five matches.
During that stretch, they have held Manchester United, Newcastle, and Brighton & Hove Albion to draws. But Palace have shown a lack of quality of late, especially going forward.
Based on expected goals data, only Bournemouth have created fewer chances than Vieira’s men this season. Meanwhile, only Wolverhampton Wanderers have scored fewer goals from open play.
Palace should have enough to avoid demotion. Their defensive record is superior to most of the teams below them, with the exception of Everton and West Ham United. But the Eagles are no doubt beginning to look nervously over their shoulder.
The mood at Liverpool is gloomy following that demolition by Real Madrid, but this weekend gives them the chance to win a third consecutive Premier League game for only the second time this season.
If they can emerge triumphant on Saturday, they would gain ground on some of the teams above them. Newcastle are not in top-flight action as they will be contesting the EFL Cup final against Manchester United. Tottenham do not play until Sunday. Brighton’s next match is not until March.
Liverpool have a phenomenal record at Selhurst Park. The Reds have won each of their last eight matches at Crystal Palace’s home ground.
They will have to dig deep to come out on top this weekend, though. After their defense was dismantled by Madrid, Liverpool will look to keep things at the back. They kept clean sheets against Everton and Newcastle, and another shut-out will be their primary objective in south London.
Palace’s games do not usually feature many goals. There have been under 2.5 in five of their last six outings, and that looks like a wise choice for Saturday’s showdown. Take up that wager at -105 with Caesars.
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Teams: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Location: Selhurst Park, London, England
Date and Time: Feb. 25, 2023, 2.45 p.m. EST
How to Watch: Peacock Premium
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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