Hodgson bidding to spoil title party for “generational” Liverpool – The view from Crystal Palace

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Liverpool can go within a point of securing the Premier League title with a win against Crystal Palace, but are Eagles supporters sensing a shock result?

The Reds could only draw 0-0 away to Everton on Sunday night as they made a drab return to action after a three-month break.

It means four points are still required to clinch glory, with Man City‘s win over Burnley ensuring the job still can’t be done against Palace.

Roy Hodgson’s side visit Anfield on Wednesday fresh off the back of a 2-0 victory at Bournemouth, and they have shown in the past that they are capable of upsetting the top sides.

Palace were the last team to beat Liverpool in the league at Anfield, winning 2-1 way back in April 2017.

Ahead of the game, we got in touch with Palace regular Robbie Scotcher (@RobbieScotcher) to get his thoughts on another big occasion on Merseyside.

 

What has changed at Crystal Palace since March, if anything?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 23, 2019: Crystal Palace's Gary Cahill during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Judging by the win against Bournemouth, I would say no.

We were on a run of three games unbeaten without conceding and that’s now four, following an impressive result on Saturday evening.

I thought we looked fairly sharp and were good on the ball. Like most teams, we have also got some players back, which makes a difference.

The nicest thing for us was not to be worried about relegation – I am usually making point predictions and practicing witchcraft with nine games to go.

 

Is there anyone you think will benefit, or is benefiting, from the time away?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2016: Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We have nearly everyone fit. I think the academy kids have been working hard and benefiting from more attention and being in closer proximity to the first team.

Christian Benteke is always an interesting player. He plays well for the team and brings people into play, but obviously isn’t scoring enough.

Hopefully, he has got a goal in his garden and been in lockdown with Manuel Neuer!

 

What should be Palace’s main aim for the remaining eight games?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 19, 2019: Crystal Palace's manager Roy Hodgson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Europe. Why not? It is a crazy season and we are just five points off fifth place.

It is the first time in a while that we are looking up instead of down at this time of year. When we hit safety we usually play better football.

We have a really tough run between now and the end of the season, however, so if we do make it into Europe, it will certainly be deserved.

If our form falls away after a few games, I would love to see some of our academy players given a chance.

 

Where does this Liverpool side rank among the best you’ve seen in your lifetime?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 21, 2019: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 236th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is a debate for the pub. And it is generational.

I tell my dad that Wilfried Zaha is Crystal Palace‘s greatest-ever player and he will say, “but you never saw Vince Hilaire.”

This Liverpool team are clearly fantastic. I would say they are one of the best-ever at putting a team away in 20 minutes. Blink and you can be 3-0 down.

That Barcelona game was magical.

 

Is there anyone you particularly fear going into Wednesday’s game?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 21, 2019: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 236th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Full-back pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, for very clear and obvious reasons.

Jurgen Klopp’s substitutions are the other. Five subs is a huge difference from three when you are playing a team who can bring world-class players off the bench.

I understand why the Premier League have done it, but you can change your whole system with five players potentially coming on.

Klopp has plenty of strong options and he also knows how to use them.

 

Where do you see the key battles taking place?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 23, 2019: Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We have to be compact and we have to frustrate you.

You are very good at finding space and running between the lines, so we have to stop that and hope Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane aren’t at their unplayable best.

But we are a big threat. We are fit and physical, we have got pace to burn on the counter-attack, we have a strong system and we have match-winners.

It will be interesting to see who marks Zaha – I hope it’s Alexander-Arnold. I think they are level at 1-1 in terms of battles so far.

For your sake, I hope it’s not James Milner. He is great, but he is not a full-back.

 

Finally, hit us with your prediction…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 23, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I love this fixture and I am hoping it is the title decider.

I think it will be a great game and I have put a hopeful bet on a surprising 2-1 win for Palace, so I will go for that. I can’t go against my own team.

It’s the hope that kills you.

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