Liverpool take on a revitalised Crystal Palace side at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, in an important Premier League clash for both teams.
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
Sunday, April 23, 2017 – 4:30pm (BST)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Another week, another ugly away win. What has happened to this previously spineless Reds side?
Last Sunday’s 1-0 victory at West Brom saw Jurgen Klopp‘s players show bags of character, as they just about kept their top-four rivals at arm’s length.
Roberto Firmino was once again the hero, as was the case against Stoke City a fortnight ago, with the Brazilian becoming Liverpool’s talisman in the absence of Sadio Mane.
Next up for the Reds is another potentially awkward tussle with one of the Premier League‘s less fashionable sides, as Palace make the trip to Merseyside.
Anfield has been a happy hunting ground for the Eagles in recent times—they have won on their last two visits there—and they have sailed clear of relegation under Sam Allardyce.
On paper, Liverpool should have too much for Palace, even with a number of important players missing, but the unpredictability of the league guarantees nothing.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last seven matches, winning five of them, and three more points this weekend would keep them on course for next season’s Champions League.
The recent draw with Bournemouth showed that Klopp’s men cannot afford to rest on their laurels, especially with Man United and Arsenal not going away, so victory is vital.
Time to end the Palace jinx, Reds.
Last Meeting: Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool
Klopp has admitted that Jordan Henderson‘s return date is currently nowhere in sight, with the captain’s season potentially over.
Sadio Mane is out until the summer, Danny Ings is gradually making progress from a cruciate ligament injury, while Adam Lallana will return to full training next week.
Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan, Lucas Leiva and Daniel Sturridge are all doubtful for Sunday’s game, as Liverpool’s injury problems show no sign of going away.
Joe Gomez could, therefore, be drafted into the starting lineup alongside Dejan Lovren, which would be the 19-year-old’s first Premier League appearance of the season.
On-loan Mamadou Sakho is ineligible to face his permanent employers, which is a blow for Palace, given his excellent form since arriving in January.
Both James Tomkins and Loic Remy are back in training for Palace, however.
Papa Souare and Connor Wickham are long-term absentees for Allardyce’s side, while Patrick van Aanholt and Fraizer Campbell are also missing.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 1-0 vs. West Brom
Won 2-1 vs. Stoke
Drew 2-2 vs. Bournemouth
Won 3-1 vs. Everton
Drew 1-1 vs. Man City
Crystal Palace – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 2-2 vs. Leicester
Won 3-0 vs. Arsenal
Lost 3-1 vs. Southampton
Won 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Won 1-0 vs. Watford
Klopp spoke about the importance of a settled centre-back pairing, with consistent injuries to his defenders, and said summer reinforcements may be likely:
“It would make sense, but what can I say? It’s nothing to talk about now,” he said.
“We have to find a solution for the weekend. That’s it.
“It’s not 100 percent Lucas cannot play, not 100 percent Joel cannot play, not 100 percent Ragnar cannot play. But they are not in training at the moment.
“Of course it would help if you could play the same couple consistently, but if not it’s not about moaning.
“It’s not about the boys saying ‘one game, thank you, now give me two weeks’ break’.
“In the end we’ll have solutions, and we’ll find the solutions for sure.”
The match is live on Sky Sports 1 from 4:15pm (BST), following Man United‘s trip to Burnley. Kickoff is at 4:30pm.
Our live blog will be up and running from 3:45pm, with Henry Jackson our man in the chair this week. Make sure you tune in for minute-by-minute updates.