Liverpool make their long-awaited return to the Anfield turf, with Crystal Palace the visitors as the Reds look to move ever closer to the Premier League title.
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
Wednesday, June 23, 2020 – 8.15pm (BST)
Premier League (31)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
The Reds are keeping it close to home once more as they welcome Roy Hodgson’s side to Anfield, in what is no longer a potential title-winning game.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were held to a 0-0 draw at Everton last time out and with Man City overpowering Burnley on Monday night, Liverpool still require five points to finish the job.
A win against the Eagles would move that target to within two and would set up the chance to clinch the title against City in early July, unless Pep Guardiola’s men drop points against Chelsea in the interim.
It sets up an interesting couple of weeks for the Reds who did struggle to find their rhythm and clinical edge at Goodison Park having struggled to turn possession into meaningful chances on goal.
Anfield has been prepped for the occasion and now all eyes will be on the mid-week affair as Klopp’s side look to find the net for the first time since football’s return.
It won’t be straightforward with an in-form Palace in town, but Liverpool’s objective for the night is clear.
Liverpool had no major issues heading into the Merseyside derby, but they did opt for caution over Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson after they missed a number of sessions in the build-up to the game.
The former was an unused sub whilst the latter did not make the matchday squad, but the duo, who were dearly missed, are expected to return to the fold at the first time of asking, with Klopp confirmed they each “trained yesterday [Monday] completely normal.”
James Milner and Joel Matip, on the other hand, are unavailable and without a clear timeline as to their return after picking up a hamstring and a big toe injury respectively.
Meanwhile, Xherdan Shaqiri remains on the sidelines with Curtis Jones, meaning the likes of Yasser Larouci, Adam Lallana and Ki-Jana Hoever could be added to the extended bench.
For Palace, Hodgson could name an unchanged side from the one who put two unanswered goals beyond Bournemouth, with James Tomkins, Jeffrey Schlupp and ex-Red Martin Kelly set to be the only absentees for the trip to Anfield.
Possible Palace XI: Guaita; Ward, Dann, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha
Last 5 Home to Crystal Palace (All Competitions)
Won 4-3 – January 2019 (Salah x2, Firmino, Mane; Townsend, Tomkins, Meyer)
Won 1-0 – August 2019 (Mane)
Lost 2-1 – April 2017 (Coutinho; Benteke x2)
Lost 2-1 – November 2015 (Coutinho; Bolasie, Dann)
Lost 3-1 – May 2015 (Lallana; Puncheon, Zaha, Murray)
Did You Know?
Liverpool’s formidable unbeaten record at Anfield started in response to the defeat at the hands of Palace in April 2017, a run which has now stretched 55 games.
It has also seen the tide turn in meetings between the two teams, with Klopp’s side now on the search for their third successive league double over Palace for the first time.
A record which is in part thanks to the boot of Sadio Mane, who has scored in four successive league games against the Eagles – no other Red in history has scored in more than two.
And his last effort at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture saw him become only the third Liverpool player to score in five topflight games agains the same opponent, after Michael Owen (Newcastle) and Luis Suarez (Norwich).
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 0-0 vs. Everton
Lost 3-2 vs. Atletico Madrid
Won 2-1 vs. Bournemouth
Lost 2-0 vs. Chelsea
Lost 3-0 Watford
Crystal Palace – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 1-0 vs. Watford
Won 1-0 vs. Brighton
Won 1-0 vs. Newcastle
Lost 3-1 vs. Everton
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp discussed playing at Anfield behind closed doors and how the Reds can still harness their home advantage.
“It will be the first game at Anfield [without fans], but it’s still a home game because we have our dressing room, we have all our things around, we know exactly where everything is.
“That feels already good when you walk into the dugout, or in the dressing room area. It’s a home game and that’s what we want to see on the pitch as well, of course.
“But in the end, no crowd, no atmosphere, we have to take that, but the derby, to me, looked like a proper football game.
“There was nothing different [on the pitch], but of course it is completely different.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting at 8pm (BST) ahead of the 8.15pm kickoff.
Chris Williams will be keeping you entertained with the usual biased coverage of all the action on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 7.30pm (BST).