Liverpool will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the Premier League table, when they take on Crystal Palace this weekend.
Premier League leaders Liverpool will welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield in matchweek 23 on Saturday, as they look to put further distance between themselves and second-placed Manchester City with a victory.
The Reds have a four point advantage over the reigning English champions, following their 1-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. And with Pep Guardiola’s side scheduled to play a day later, Saturday’s encounter offers Liverpool a chance to strike the first blow and turn up the pressure on the Citizens, by extending their lead to seven points.
Crystal Palace find themselves in the 14th spot in the table, with 22 points from 22 matches. Last time out, Roy Hodgson’s men were beaten 2-1 by Watford. But, having caused one of the biggest upsets of the season when they beat Manchester City, the Eagles will back themselves to put up a strong fight against the Reds at Anfield.
Liverpool ran out comfortable 2-0 winners the last time they faced Palace at the Selhurst Park in August, courtesy of a James Milner penalty and a late goal from Sadio Mane. And manager Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that his team are able to reproduce a similar result this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a doubt after playing with an injury against Brighton last weekend, as is the case with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Dejan Lovren remains sidelined for the home side, but Adam Lallana is fully fit and ready for a return. Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also be absent from Klopp’s squad.
Alisson Becker is fast establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and will start between the sticks against the Eagles. With Alexander-Arnold a doubt, James Milner might shift to the right-back slot, while Andy Robertson will start on the left side. Defensive mainstay Virgil van Dijk could pair up with Joel Matip at the centre.
The two pivot positions in the middle of the park will be taken up by club captain Jordan Henderson and summer signing Fabinho, who is slowly establishing himself as an integral part of the side.
Roberto Firmino will look to cause problems to the visitors with his movement and link-up play starting out in the No.10 role. Flanking him on either sides will be Xherdan Shaqiri and Sadio Mane, with the match-winner from last weekend, Mohamed Salah, set to lead the line once again on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Milner, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah;
Hodgson has a bit of a headache in the goalkeeping department with both Wayne Hennessey and Vicente Guaita unlikely to be involved. Apart from the two custodians, left-back Pape Souare is the only other major injury concern for the Eagles for their trip north to Anfield.
The former Liverpool manager has set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation in the past few fixtures and is expected to stick to the same shape on Saturday. With both Guaita and Hennessey sidelined, 39-year-old Julian Speroni is set to make his first appearance of the season.
The talented Aaron Wan-Bissaka will line up at right-back, with Patrick van Aanholt on the opposite side. At the heart of the defence it will be the duo of James Tomkins and former Liverpool man Mamadou Sakho.
Luka Milivojevic is a guaranteed starter at the base of the midfield for Crystal Palace. He will be supported in the centre of the park by summer signing Cheikhou Kouyate on one side and James McArthur on the other.
The Eagles chief threat in the final third will come from the flanks through the dazzling Wilfried Zaha and the dangerous Andros Townsend. On-loan forward Jordan Ayew will start in the centre-forward position ahead of former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Speroni; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyate; Townsend, Ayew, Zaha;
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 2.20
2. Liverpool Clean Sheet – NO @ 2.10
1. Crystal Palace Asian Handicap +1.0 @ 4.150
- Liverpool have won five of their last six Premier League games against Crystal Palace, including the last three in a row. They’ve never won four consecutively against the Eagles in the top flight.
- Crystal Palace have won three of their last four Premier League visits to Anfield to face Liverpool, though they did lose this fixture last time out in August 2017.
- Liverpool are looking to win seven consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since January 2014.
- Crystal Palace are looking to win three consecutive away Premier League games for the first time since May/August 2015, and the first time within the same season since February 2015.
- Liverpool haven’t conceded more than once in any of their last 16 Premier League home games, keeping 12 clean sheets in that time (four goals conceded).
Player to Watch
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The 26-year-old has had to cop unfair criticism from some quarters of late, with people accusing him of diving to win penalties against Newcastle United, Arsenal and most recently against Brighton. But, unfazed by it all, Salah has continued to lead Liverpool’s title charge as he sits at the top of the PL goalscoring charts with 14 strikes, along with Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Salah is currently on 48 Premier League goals (46 for Liverpool, 2 for Chelsea) and will be looking to become the first ever Egyptian footballer to breach the 50-goal mark in the English top-flight, when he takes the field against the Eagles this weekend.
Liverpool 2-1 Crystal Palace
Liverpool bounced back from their defeat to Manchester City with a hard-fought victory against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. And Jurgen Klopp will be aiming to build on that display and clinch another important win on Saturday.
Crystal Palace may have lost their last game, but a run of three wins in their last six games, that included a triumph against City, has seen them move four points clear of the relegation zone. The Eagles have won on three of their previous four visits to Anfield and will be aiming to make it four wins in five and put a dent in the Reds’ title ambitions.
It might not be the most straightforward of the fixtures for Liverpool, with Palace expected to put up a strong fight. But, the Merseysiders have enough quality to see off Roy Hodgson’s side and extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points this weekend.