Crystal Palace v Liverpool: Team News and Opposition Preview

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Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool make a welcome return to action on Sunday afternoon, as they take on Neil Warnock’s struggling Crystal Palace side at Selhurst Park.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 4, 2014: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers against West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

Liverpool return to Premier League action after the final international break of the year looking to post a much improved run of results to the end 2014 and turnaround a poor season to date in the process.

The Reds continue to search for the performance level of last campaign but they will now have to do it the hard way after being dealt a huge blow with Daniel Sturridge once again breaking down in training, at a time when it was widely hoped that his seemingly imminent return could inspire an upturn in fortunes.

Brendan Rodgers’ side return to Selhurst Park – a ground that Liverpool are winless at in their last five visits and haven’t recorded victory at since  December 1997 – doing their best to blank out the painful memories of last season’s disastrous second half collapse as Liverpool battled for the title.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Monday, May 5, 2014: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet along with Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel look dejected as Crystal Palace score the third goal during the Premiership match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The less said about that game the better, but after steaming into a 3-0 lead courtesy of goals from Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, the unthinkable happened and Rodgers’ men headed back to Merseyside with only a point and their title hopes all but finished going into the final match of the season.

 

Team News

Disaster has struck once more with Sturridge set to be out for a further six weeks following suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury in training at Melwood, and the England international now faces another lengthy spell on the side-lines – with Sunday’s game set to be the 15th he’s missed already this season.

There was further bad news earlier this week over the fitness of Jordan Henderson, with the England midfielder suffering a hamstring strain and missing the midweek grudge match against Scotland as a result, but Rodgers has confirmed that the midfield engine should be fit to play on Sunday afternoon, providing some rare positive news.

Concerns remain over Mario Balotelli’s availability for the clash however – after he was sent home early from the Italy camp during the international fixtures having picked up a reported groin injury – and he is set to be assessed ahead of the clash with Rodgers hinting in his pre-match press conference that there could be more action coming the way of Rickie Lambert.

There’s more frustration on the injury front with Mamadou Sakho this time, as the Frenchman looks set to miss the trip as he continues his recovery but Joe Allen, who was on the receiving end of a nasty whack to the face from a Marouane Fellaini elbow in Wales’ qualifying match against Belgium, is seemingly fit for selection and therefore in contention for a starting berth.

 

Opposition

Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace side are currently on the joint worst run of form in the division – without a win in five games and only a point to show from that run of fixtures – including a crushing 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Sunderland and a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford last time out.

The Eagles will be looking to make amends for their latest loss on Sunday afternoon, and they have the slight edge over Liverpool in London where the home side have won seven times and drawn six of 19 fixtures in the capital in all competitions – with the Reds winning six times themselves.

Warnock’s men boast an even leakier defence than Rodgers’ side, having conceded the second highest amount of goals in the league – with only QPR conceding more – but the physical Selhurst Park outfit have scored the same amount as Liverpool in the first 11 games of the season – 14.

Palace are set to welcome back captain Mile Jedinak and Wilfried Zaha to the team after they missed the defeat against Manchester United through suspension and as part of a loan agreement respectively, and further good news for the home side is that James McArthur and Kevin Doyle could recover in time to feature after withdrawing from their international squads.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 26, 2013: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Martin Kelly during the Premiership match against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A familiar face could line up against Liverpool on Sunday, as former academy product, Martin Kelly, has enjoyed an injury free beginning to life down south, and he could be in line to feature against the club he left in the summer transfer window after a 17-year affiliation at Anfield.

The match is the early kick off on Sunday afternoon, and will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 with kick-off at Selhurst Park coming at 13:30pm.

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