On December 9, Liverpool will travel to South London to face Crystal Palace in yet another 12:30 kick-off. Sitting just two points off top spot, Jürgen Klopp’s side will be motivated to grab another three points in the title race. This is the Liverpool tactical preview, of how they can make this happen.
Liverpool Tactical Preview Vs Crystal Palace In Lunchtime Kick-Off
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Darwin Núñez As A Facilitator
After being rested for the first 67 minutes against Sheffield United, Darwin Núñez should go straight back into the starting lineup against Palace.
Prior to the previous game, the striker had become somewhat of a staple in the side, starting five Premier League games in a row. Significantly, the Uruguayan had formed a spectacular partnership with Mohamed Salah.
As of December 1, the duo had the most chances created for each other in the league, with 21. Considering they had only spent 582 minutes on the field together, this is particularly impressive.
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With Núñez missing, Salah looked pretty uninvolved against the Blades. It appeared that, without the familiar option of his run down the centre-right channel of the pitch, the Egyptian was slightly lost – and was hooked after 67 minutes.
Should the centre-forward return to the lineup, he will provide the dangerous option of a bursting sprint through the defensive line.
Not only this, but the £85 million man also drops deep and supplies for his teammate: the most frequent goal in the Premier League this season is a Núñez assist to a Salah goal, with four. In his short cameo against Sheffield United, he provided an excellent assist for Dominik Szoboszlai.
Jürgen Klopp has reiterated the importance of Virgil van Dijk, hailing the skipper as one of the best defenders in the world. 🌎
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 8, 2023
Tyrick Mitchell left the field against Bournemouth after 29 minutes with a muscle injury, leaving Roy Hodgson with Nathaniel Clyne as his backup option.
Left-backs struggle at the best of times to cope with the tricky feet of Salah, but a right-footed one will struggle even more. Expect to see the winger attempting to leave Clyne wrong-footed, and exploiting the weakness of his former teammate.
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Joel Ward has been playing at right-back, and with no disrespect, the 34-year-old struggles for pace. This could be seen most clearly in the 4-0 loss to Newcastle United when he failed to get back during the Magpies’ many fast breaks.
This weakness will certainly be exploited by the pace of Luis Díaz, who will be hungry for his first goal contribution since that goal against Luton Town.
In fact, Liverpool have the highest number of direct attacks in the league. Pair this with an opposition duo of unconventional full-backs, and the wingers should enjoy their afternoons.
Trent Alexander-Arnold In Midfield
In the past two games we have seen Trent Alexander-Arnold deployed in a midfield role, for only really the fifth or sixth time this season. Other notable fixtures include the EFL Cup win over Bournemouth and matches against Malta for the national team.
This more central role has allowed him to drop deeper and therefore act as a playmaker and start the attacks, rather than making constant wide runs. At Bramall Lane, he created an impressive seven chances and grabbed an assist, yet only had two touches in the opposition box.
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A technically gifted player in Alexander-Arnold should help Liverpool overcome the barrier that is Jefferson Lerma at the heart of the Palace midfield. His exceptional passing ability should allow the Reds to bypass the Colombian destroyer, and potentially draw him into reckless challenges – opening up space in the final third.