Liverpool travels to Crystal Palace in a bid to keep the pressure on second-placed Manchester United with a win as Premier League action resumes.
Liverpool’s loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford a few weeks ago gave the Red Devils a two-point advantage over their traditional rival. With the game against Crystal Palace on the horizon, Liverpool will be looking to keep the gap between them and their rivals to the bare minimum, with good performances in the remaining games, starting with a win at the weekend.
More importantly, Liverpool would be hoping to continue their free-scoring form which saw them thrash Watford 5-0 before the International break. A win over Crystal Palace would temporarily move them to the second spot and could remain there if Manchester United drop points later in the day.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, boosted their survival chances with a comprehensive 2-0 victory against Huddersfield before the break and will be counting on home comforts to get a result against the rampant Reds at Selhurst Park.
Jurgen Klopp, however, will be cautious with his team selection with one eye on the Champions League quarter-finals against Manchester City round the corner, but one could expect the German manager to name a competent and robust side to face their struggling opponents over the weekend.
Team News & Tactics
While Roy Hodgson welcomes his former team to Selhurst Park for this critical Premier League clash, he will be concerned with the mounting injury list growing within his squad. Jeffrey Schlupp is undoubtedly out of the Liverpool game with an ankle injury, and there are doubts over James Tomkins and Alexander Sorloth’s availability.
The big worry, however, is the availability of talisman Wilfried Zaha, who suffered a knock during the international break with Ivory Coast. Other players like Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Bacary Sako are all out of this game, and there is also significant doubt behind Joel Ward’s availability.
Palace still would be hoping to field a competitive team to face Liverpool, and Roy Hodgson will be praying for no new injuries. Palace are eyeing a strong finish to their season which began with utter disappointment, but under Hodgson, they have turned a corner.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3) – Hennessey; Van Aanholt, Sakho, Tomkins, Fosu-Mensah; Cabaye, Milivojevic, McArthur; Townsend, Wan-Bissaka; Benteke
Jurgen Klopp will be expected to make some significant changes to his side as the Champions League quarterfinals against Manchester City would be just around the corner following their Crystal Palace match. There could still be uncertainty over who could be benched, but Liverpool have a few injury concerns of their own.
Emre Can suffered a back problem while on International duty with Germany and could be a doubt for Crystal Palace, as he did not train with the Liverpool squad. Joe Gomez is the other main casualty as he suffered an ankle injury with England at the break.
Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne are doubts for the game too, although Andrew Robertson, who suffered a dead leg during Scotland’s clash with Hungary, has returned to training and could yet feature against Palace.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3) – Karius; Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Mane, Firmino
- Crystal Palace have lost their last three games at home to Liverpool.
- Roy Hodgson has three wins in his last five meetings with Liverpool, while only losing once in that time
- Liverpool have not recorded a double over Palace since the 1997-98 season.
- Christian Benteke has scored six goals in eight Premier League appearances against Liverpool.
- Crystal Palace have allowed the first goal against their opposing teams for 20 games this season, more than any other side.
- This will be Jurgen Klopp’s 100th game in charge of Liverpool.
1. Liverpool to win @ 1.53
2. Roberto Firmino to score anytime @ 2.20
3. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
1. Christian Benteke to score anytime @ 3.40
Player To Watch
As has been the nature of his game this season, Mo Salah is likely to feature as the Player to Watch in the coming weeks if his performances continue the way they have been. After hitting four goals against Watford in the last Premier League matchday, Salah will be expected to continue his dominant form in front of goal against Palace.
He was on target during the international break against Portugal, a game which was decided by a Cristiano Ronaldo double right at the end. Klopp would be hoping Salah would continue his lethal goalscoring form against Palace and be in the right frame when they face Manchester City in the Champions League quarters.
With the title race out of the equation for Liverpool, there’s still the golden boot for which Salah is currently leading the race with 28 goals. His nearest competitor, Harry Kane is set to be on the sidelines for another month, and this could be an opportunity for Salah to move way clear from the Spurs man. He could also better Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for a non-striker by the end of the season.
Crystal Palace 0-3 Liverpool
On paper, the Reds are still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to scoring goals. The force of Salah, Mane and Firmino will be too good to handle for Palace as they have injuries to key players in defence. Of the trio, Salah, in particular, will be hoping to increase his goals tally against teams, especially struggling in the league.
On the other hand, Liverpool’s defence which had a leaky patch for the most of the season, have, since Virgil Van Dijk’s arrival in January tightened things at the back. Expect Liverpool to continue their good scoring form as well as defending against Palace, and a comfortable win could be on the cards for the Reds.