Liverpool will look to get back to winning ways and move closer to the Premier League title as they get ready to host Crystal Palace at Anfield.
This could have been the matchday where Liverpool would have lifted the Premier League title had they registered a win in the Merseyside derby on the weekend. Arguably no better fixture to do it against than Crystal Palace, the team that came from three goals down against Liverpool to register a draw on the second last gameweek of the 2013/14 season which moved Brendan Rodgers’ men to second place and inevitably two points away from the title.
This season, though, the title seems inevitable at this point with Liverpool sitting 22 points clear of their modern-day rivals, second-placed Manchester City. At this point, the trophy is a formality.
The Reds have lost just one game all season, a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of 17th placed Watford led by Ismaila Sarr. Their second draw of the season came against Everton last matchday in a dull 0-0 game, the first after a three-month hiatus.
Crystal Palace are enjoying a season well beyond their expectations as they sit ninth in the table, two points above Arsenal. Their impressive season is the result of solid defensive tactics, but it could have been a lot better for Roy Hodgson’s men had they not been scoring at a rate less than one goal a game.
Palace handed AFC Bournemouth a 2-0 defeat last week courtesy of a stunning free-kick from Luka Milivojevic and a goal from Jordan Ayew. A trip to Anfield would be a much more difficult fixture for the Eagles, who have lost all five previous meetings against Liverpool. The reverse fixture ended 2-1 in the Reds’ favour, with Roberto Firmino coming up with 85th minute winner.
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Jurgen Klopp’s men picked up two fresh injuries last week against Everton as James Milner and Joel Matip had to hobble off with a hamstring and toe injury respectively. Nathaniel Clyne and Xherdan Shaqiri will miss out as well as both of them recover from long-term injuries.
They have, however, been blessed with the return of Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson. The Egyptian wasn’t at full fitness for the Merseyside derby and was an unused substitute, while Robertson was not part of the matchday squad altogether.
Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will be the full-backs role, while Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez start at the heart of the defence. However, van Dijk has played every minute of the season so far, and it might finally be time to give him his duly-earned rest, using Dejan Lovren who came on for Matip to play the last 20 minutes. This back four will be screening Alisson Becker who will hold the fort in the six-yard box.
Captain Jordan Henderson is expected to take on the pitch as the deepest man in midfield arched by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and Georginio Wijnaldum on the left. Neither of these two players started last week but could get the nod ahead of Naby Keita and Fabinho.
Mohamed Salah will return to the starting lineup, as well, completing the coveted trio alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. However, Mane played 90 minuted against Everton and could be replaced by Divock Origi on the left.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Crystal Palace reported no fresh injury concerns and will be with their full squad barring three players. Martin Kelly suffered from a calf injury in training and will have to sit this game out while Jeffrey Schlupp and first-choice centre back James Tomkins recover from previous injuries.
Gary Cahill and Scott Dann are expected to start as the centre-half pairing, supplemented by Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt who will be providing width from defence. Vicente Guaita will start with the gloves on and will hope to continue his tremendous season so far.
Like his Liverpool counterpart, captain Luka Milivojevic will start as the defensive midfielder as James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate complete the midfield three. We could also see James McCarthy come in for McArthur, but it is unlikely that Roy Hodgson will rotate his preferred midfield against a big club.
Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew will retain their position as the wingers in a three-man attack. The latter has been able to revive his career this year under new management and has played out of his skin every week scoring nine goals and setting up another one. These two will be flanking former Liverpool man Christian Benteke, who has a grand total of five league goals in the last three seasons.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Dann, Cahill, van Aanholt; Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha
- Liverpool have won their last five Premier League games against Crystal Palace since losing 1-2 at Anfield back in April 2017.
- Crystal Palace’s last three Premier League wins against Liverpool have all been at Anfield – in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.
- Liverpool have won their last 22 Premier League games at Anfield, the best ever winning run at home in English top-flight history. Indeed, the Reds are unbeaten in their last 55 home league games (W45 D10), with Crystal Palace the last side to win away at Anfield in the top-flight (2-1 in April 2017).
- After a run of scoring in 36 consecutive Premier League games, Liverpool have now failed to find the back of the net in two of their last three. They have dropped more points in these three games (5 – W1 D1 L1) than they had in their previous 38 league matches combined (4 – W36 D2 L0).
- Crystal Palace have won each of their last four Premier League matches, the longest current winning run in the competition. They have only won more consecutively in the competition twice – five in December 1992 and five in April 2014.
The Egyptian King will return to action this gameweek against Crystal Palace and will look to continue his stellar goalscoring form in the Premier League. Mohamed Salah has 16 goals, and an added six assists in 26 appearances this season.
Salah missed out on taking on Palace earlier this season, but the 28-year-old has a rather neat record against the Eagles, with four goals in as many games since joining Liverpool. We can only expect that Salah will be hungry for more this season in an attempt to win his third consecutive golden boot.
Liverpool 3-0 Crystal Palace
We expect Liverpool to put three past Crystal Palace tomorrow, but without an answer. That is because Jurgen Klopp will not want to miss out on the chance to win the title at the Etihad Stadium next week when they take on defending champions Manchester City. This will be the club’s primary motivation ahead of their fixture against the Eagles.
Moreover, the fierce front three will be reunited on Wednesday, and it would be rather foolish to write off Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who have a combined total of 38 goals this season in the league, ten more than what Palace have managed thus far.