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Pardew wants Palace to step up focus ahead of Liverpool game

Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League - King Power Stadium - 22/10/16 Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew Action Images via Reuters / Alan Walter Livepic
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League - King Power Stadium - 22/10/16Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew Action Images via Reuters / Alan WalterLivepic

REUTERS - Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew says his side must maintain their concentration for the full 90 minutes this weekend or risk being punished by a confident Liverpool side.

Palace have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League so far this season and shipped three goals against champions Leicester City last weekend.

Pardew acknowledged that his 11th-placed side need to maintain their focus against Juergen Klopp's side, who have won six of their nine league games and are third in the standings behind leaders Manchester City.

"Clean sheets are a concern for all managers. We need a little more concentration to get us over the line," Pardew told reporters in a news conference ahead of Saturday's game at Selhurst Park.

"They play high intensity and they're quick to the ball, and that's driven by the manager, but (Brendan) Rodgers' team wasn't too dissimilar.

"Liverpool will be looking for consistency now and if you catch them on the wrong day they can be very difficult.

"The way the league is panning out, you have to put Liverpool in contention for the title."

Christian Benteke is set to face his former side for the first time since signing for Palace in the transfer window and Pardew expects the Belgium international to be highly motivated.

"When you've not had the opportunity you think you deserve, it's natural to be up for this game," Pardew added.

"Christian is playing with a smile on his face. Every player wants to play, especially great players like him."

Pardew said fit-again defender Scott Dann was available for selection for the Liverpool game, but cast his doubts over Jason Puncheon.

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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