The Liverpool View
A trip to Anfield is next on the fixture list for the Eagles so TEB had a chat with freelance journalist Jack Sear about the season so far for Liverpool and thoughts ahead of this fixture.
Q. How has the season been for Liverpool so far?
For obvious reasons, very good! I really don’t think anyone can have any complaints about how things have gone so far. Four points clear at the top of the table and a good looking Champions League last 16 tie to look forward to.
It looks like Liverpool have a really, really good chance of winning the league this season and Klopp has definitely thrown his eggs into that basket. It’s going to be a nervy last few months of the season but you have to be confident that they can see things out. Every game is like a final and Saturday won’t be any different.
Q. What did you make of the game at Selhurst Park earlier in the season?
A tough one. Felt like a massive victory at the time. We obviously took the lead with the penalty in the first half but you had some good chances to equalise right up until Mane’s goal sealed it in stoppage time.
It was one of those games that I don’t think we’d have won in years gone by and there’s been a lot of them this season. The defence (goalkeeper included) have helped so much. It’s never easy going to Selhurst Park so it was nice to get that one out the way early doors.
Q. What are your hopes for the rest of the season?
This team is good enough to go all the way in the Premier League and the Champions League. We obviously need a bit of luck with injuries but the big advantage we have on the likes of City now is the lack of games.
They’re still in the League Cup and the FA Cup and Klopp has always been a manager that really, really values time on the training pitch. I still don’t think we’ve seen this Liverpool side at their best yet, either, and that’s always a positive sign.
Q. With exits from both domestic cup competitions, do you think this is the best chance in recent years for Liverpool to win the Premier League title?
Without a doubt. The 2013/14 season was close but this team is better because of the defence and the strength in depth, too. We definitely seem to be in a good place at the moment.
There’s a lot of talk about the pressure getting to the players and the manager, but I genuinely believe that Klopp is telling the 100% truth when he says the team aren’t looking too far ahead. He’s done this before with Dortmund. The mentality seems spot on and fingers crossed we can go all the way.
Q. Who has been the stand out Liverpool player?
Virgil van Dijk. At the moment, I think he’s got to be the frontrunner for PFA Player of the Year, too. Just an absolute Rolls Royce of a defender. He’s got the lot and we’re very, very lucky to have him.
Q. Do Liverpool have any needs ahead of the transfer window and how active do you think they will be?
Klopp has never been one to be active in January unless he really needs to or if a long-term target becomes available, which doesn’t often happen.
I think Liverpool have done the majority of their business already with the departures of Dominic Solanke and Nathaniel Clyne to Bournemouth. I doubt they’ll let Divock Origi go unless someone comes in with an offer we can’t refuse.
Q. If you could pick one Palace player for Liverpool to sign in January, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say Wilfried Zaha. I know he’s not having the greatest of seasons by his standards but he’s clearly very, very talented. I’d be intrigued to watch him in a team like ours. He’s definitely one of the trickiest customers in the league. Trent Alexander-Arnold said a while back that he’s the toughest opponent he’s faced, which is some praise when you consider the players he’s come up against in the last 12 months or so.
Q. Name one Liverpool player and one Palace player that you believe will be a threat in this game?
For Liverpool, I’d have to go with Mo Salah. He’s in great form and Klopp’s decision to move him into a more central role this season has been a masterstroke. He’ll have his eye on the golden boot now as well. Especially with Kane out for a while.
For Palace, I’d definitely say Zaha. He’ll be looking to try and get the better of a defence that won’t be at full strength, with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren all out.
Q. Perhaps you could share your opinions on Palace so fare this season?
Well, for a start, can’t thank you enough for that result at the Etihad last month. Could be huge for us that!
It’s obviously not been plain sailing at times but you had a few decent results over the Christmas period. From the outside, it looks like you could do with a striker this month. It’s not ideal having Zaha up there, or Andros Townsend.
I think you’ll probably have enough to stay up but I think it’s about time you kicked on. Is Hodgson really the man to have you challenging for a European spot? I’m not sure, and I think that has to be the aim. It didn’t work out with Frank de Boer but it would be nice to see you with a manager who’s got a more modern idea of the game!
Q. Your prediction?