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Opposition View: Liverpool fan hopes to banish painful memories at Crystal Palace

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WE spoke to Liverpool fan and journalist Stuart Ballard ahead of Sunday's match at Selhurst Park...

It's been an inconsistent start to this season so far for you?

It's been hard to watch considering the nature of play we became accustomed to last season. The new players haven't settled in as quickly as we had hoped so we've reverted back to that 'transitional period'. There can only be so much transition before you expect results and after last year we thought we had passed that.

How much are you missing Luis Suarez?

Looking past the drama that he brought with him, he is a world-class striker. He's probably the best striker we've had in the Premier League era and last year he carried the side to our closest title challenge. I do feel that Daniel Sturridge had a big part to play in that as well and we've missed him just as much.

Mario Balotelli might miss the match through injury. A big miss or not?

He needs some time out of the firing line because he is being made a scapegoat. Flip the coin and he is arguably Brendan Rodgers' strangest signing so far because he doesn't fit the bill in terms of the work rate we got from Suarez last year. I'm happy to give him time though because there's no doubting his talent.

Who should Palace look out for now heading into the game?

Emre Can has impressed in the last two games against Real Madrid and Chelsea. Albeit both were losses, he looked comfortable on the ball and showed he's not afraid to shoot.

Which Palace players do you like the look of?

Last season's 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park was heart-breaking and on the day Dwight Gayle was brilliant but he hasn't been given too many chances this year. Yannick Bolasie is an interesting player and is a tireless runner for the team. A little bit gangly at times but he has certainly been a threat going forward for Palace.

And finally, a score prediction?

Going to the Selhurst again after what happened last season is daunting for every Liverpool fan and I can see Palace making the most of our defensive frailties. But I'll be brave and go for a 3-1 win to Liverpool.


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