Sunday, November 23 2014; 13:30 GMT
Selhurst Park, London
Liverpool return to Crystal Palace for the first time since the harrowing 3-3 draw that saw their hopes of a first Premier League title crushed 6 months ago. Both sides have been through a difficult season thus far, and require 3 points ahead of a busy Christmas period.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Liverpool supporters not looking forward to this game will be relieved to no longer find Tony Pulis at the touchline for Crystal Palace this time around, not least because of his influence on a Crystal Palace squad that clawed back a 3-goal deficit back in May to crush Liverpool’s title hopes, but also because of his association with a Stoke City that has proved so troublesome for Liverpool in recent years. They will also be relieved because Crystal Palace, this season, bear more resemblance to the squad lead by Ian Holloway earlier last season that rolled over at Anfield, rather than the one that hurt Liverpool so bad 6 months ago.
Liverpool supporters will find a familiar place at Crystal Palace in Martin Kelly, who left Liverpool this past summer after a 17 year long association with the club. He has had more luck with regards to fitness this season at Palace than he had in his last 3 seasons at Anfield, but will most likely find himself on the bench when the Reds come visiting. Meanwhile, former Manchester United striker Frazier Campbell will most probably play up front on his own, accompanied by Manchester United loanee Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon.
Crystal Palace are looking to bring back captain Mile Jedinak from suspension, but are sweating over his match fitness since he had to travel back to London from halfway round the world for international duty. Yannick Bolasie will look to pass a late fitness test, while former Wigan midfielder James McArthur is also stated to return from injury.
Probable Starting Lineup: Speroni (GK); Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward; Jedinak (C), McArthur, Ledley; Puncheon, Campbell, Zaha
Liverpool return to the ground that was the scene of their most difficult day in the 2013-14 Premier League season, hoping to get back to the top half of the table following a winless run of 3 games. The Reds were looking to nullify a 9 goal deficit 6 months ago, but are now looking to place one (or even two) men up front who could get them to score one.
Ill-timed injuries mostly during international breaks, have cost the Reds dearly this season – not only did they lose Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Joe Allen at key moments, or just at the time of hitting form, they have now lost Daniel Sturridge to a third recurrence of the thigh injury he suffered earlier this season. Yet Sturridge, who has not played for Liverpool since August 31, has scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert, all combined. Manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that salvaging something off this season is the toughest test of his career.
Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool spent the summer looking to reinforce the squad with options; however, the manager has often made the wrong choices with regard to rotation of players between different competitions. He has often kept Javi Manquillo for European games, hence, Glen Johnson is likely to line up at right back against Palace. Injury to Jose Enrique would mean that Alberto Moreno will most likely need to play 3 games in a week – starting Sunday. Sturridge and Balotelli are both injured, so Rodgers now has to choose between Fabio Borini, Rickie Lambert, or both with Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana on either side. Jordan Henderson picked up an injury on England duty, but should make it to full fitness in time for Sunday.
Probable Starting Lineup: Mignolet (GK); Johnson, Toure, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard (C), Henderson, Can; Sterling, Borini, Lallana
- Liverpool may be in the midst of a poor run of form, but Crystal Palace have not won in 5 Premier League games.
- Only twice have Liverpool had fewer points at this stage of a Premier League season before (1992-93 and 2012-13).
- Liverpool have scored 14 goals in the 2014-15 season thus far – the same as Crystal Palace.
- Crystal Palace have only lost once at home to Liverpool in the Premier League.
Player to watch out for
Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
Former Southampton captain Adam Lallana recently said that he was trying too hard to impress Liverpool supporters at the start to life in a new club. However, he has steadily improved after a difficult start to life in a new club, a delayed one at that – having struggled due to injury. Injuries to Sturridge and Balotelli may well mean that Lallana will have a key role to play for the Reds at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Blast from the Past
Last season’s 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park at the tail end of the title race was not the only memorable game that has taken place between the two sides. Here is one for the highlight reel that from 25 years ago – one that makes better watching for Liverpool supporters, not so much for those supporting Crystal Palace.