Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park having not lost for 29 league matches, and Townsend thinks the way the Reds blow teams away in the opening 15 minutes of each half makes them a tough team to stop.
"It's incredible," he says. "I think they [Liverpool] make a conscious effort each half to go full throttle for the first 15 minutes and say, 'Do you want it, are you still going to play?' Or, 'Are you going to kick in behind and say we don't want this?'
"They suss you out for the first 15 minutes and they did that against Manchester City and even though they were not playing well, they found themselves 2-0 up."
But Palace were the last team to win in the league at Anfield, in April 2017, and Townsend says low expectations can liberate the Eagles to repeat the feat.
"You approach the game differently, you know you are not going to get much possession," he adds. "You know you will have to defend for 90 minutes, even as a winger.
"My main priority going into the game, is that I need to be a defender first. If we get counter-attacks, I will attack, but definitely if you defend well and take your chances at the other side you can definitely pull off a shock, as we have proven many times before.
"It is going to be difficult, but if you do the defensive things perfectly and going forward you are clinical, you can pull off a big shock."