Selhurst set for thriller: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Preview
Relegation-threatened Crystal Palace take on Liverpool in the Premier League’s early kick off on Saturday. Infogol’s Analyst uses expected goals (xG) to preview the game and generate the best bets.
Palace have been unlucky so far this season
Crystal Palace Expected Goals (xG)
Crystal Palace gained a much needed - and fully deserved – 2-0 win against Huddersfield last time out, a result that moved them out of the relegation zone. They created a host of chances in that game (xG: HUD 0.4 – 3.5 CRY), something that they have been doing all season, but this time they made it count.
Palace have been one of the season’s biggest under-performers; they are seventh in Infogol’s expected table, but only 16th in the actual table. Their process has been very good, and they are one of only two teams outside the top six to have a positive expected goal difference (xGD).
It has been widely documented how crucial Wilfried Zaha is to the Eagles, given they are yet to win a point without him this season, and he is clearly their most important player.
Crystal Palace with and without Zaha
Their average xGD this season has been -1 compared to +0.5 when he has played, and they generate 1.8 xG per game when he plays compared to 1.1 when he is absent. The most recent injury he picked up at Huddersfield (which kept him out of friendly action for the Ivory Coast this week) will obviously be a worry for Palace fans ahead of this game.
Infogol Premier League expected goals table ahead of GW32
Liverpool continue to impress
Liverpool Expected Goals (xG)
Liverpool bounced back from their defeat to Manchester United in emphatic style, blitzing Watford 5-0 in a game which saw Mohamed Salah hit four. The Reds’ finishing was clinical, scoring five from just 2.5 xG, with Salah scoring with all four shots (1.6 xG), a 7% chance of that happening according to Infogol.
Jurgen Klopp’s team have been a joy to watch this season, and they have matched that with a good process. The purchase of Virgil van Dijk looks to have been a shrewd one, and he appears to have improved their defensive output, Liverpool conceding just 6.8 xG in his eight Premier League matches – and conceding less than 1 xG in five of those games.
van Dijk has sured up the Liverpool defence
According to Infogol’s expected table, Liverpool - like Palace – should be higher based on performances. They have been the second best team in the league this season (though Tottenham have played one game fewer), and are on Manchester City’s heels in terms of xGF.
Liverpool are expected to be too strong for Crystal Palace, whether Wilfried Zaha plays or not, but Palace fans should remain hopeful with their team having been the seventh best team this season. Over 2.5 goals looks an obvious selection given that both teams play an attacking brand of football, with a 3-1 away win the most likely outcome according to xG.
Over 2.5 goals @ 4/7
Liverpool to win 3-1 @ 9/1