Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
Premier League (23) | Selhurst Park
February 25, 2023 | 7.45pm (GMT)
Here are 10 things you need to know ahead of another big match for the Reds.
1. Palace define mid-table mediocrity
With all due respect to Palace, they have been one of the Premier League‘s more forgettable teams this season.
They have been the definition of mediocrity, sitting 12th in the table and rarely looking like European challengers or relegation fodder.
Only six wins have come Palace’s way – in the form table over the last nine games, they are in the relegation zone – so Liverpool could be playing them at a good time as they’re yet to win in 2023.
Patrick Vieira appears to be under little pressure, but with some of the attacking quality at his disposal, the Eagles’ campaign has been underwhelming to date.
2. Will Zaha be missing for Eagles?
Wilfried Zaha has arguably been Palace’s best player of the last 20 years, racking up 450 appearances, not to mention registering 89 goals and 76 assists.
The Ivorian is questionable for Saturday’s contest, having only returned to training this week after injury.
His absence would act as an undoubted boost for Liverpool, considering he scored in the 1-1 draw at Anfield earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, exciting young left-back Tyrick Mitchell is in contention, while Joel Ward is back in training after an injury absence.
He is unlikely to start, though, with former Liverpool man Nathaniel Clyne continuing at right-back.
Potential Palace XI: Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Doucoure, Lokonga; Olise, Ayew, Schlupp; Mateta.
3. Who’s out for Liverpool?
Joe Gomez limped out of the humiliation at the hands of Madrid, and all Klopp said post-match was “we will see,” with checks needed, leaving him in doubt for this fixture.
Ibrahima Konate is back in training for Liverpool, acting as a major boost, with the Frenchman undoubtedly one of the two best centre-backs at the club – but the manager hinted this game may come too soon.
4. A return to the XI for Keita?
Gomez’s possible absence could mean that Joel Matip returns to Liverpool’s defence, although vastly improved form is required from him.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Bajcetic; Salah, Nunez, Jota.
5. Chance to crank up pressure on Newcastle
Last weekend’s 2-0 win away to Newcastle was a huge one for Liverpool, putting them within six points of the Magpies with a game in hand.
It is vital that the Reds don’t feel sorry for themselves after the Madrid game and this is a big chance to crank up the heat on Eddie Howe’s team.
Newcastle don’t play in the league this weekend because of the League Cup final and their next league game is at Man City on March 4, meaning Liverpool could be level on points if they beat Palace and then Wolves on Wednesday.
6. Klopp highlights importance of transfers
Speaking to the media on Friday, Klopp made it clear that transfer business is required this summer:
“I don’t say everything that people say around us is wrong, not at all, but most of the things are not right as well.
“We know we have to improve, we know we have to change things, and we will. We cannot do that now, but it’s already clear that we have to do something in the summer.
“But for now, we just have to go through this and fight back.”
You heard him, FSG!
7. Defying the Selhurst Park myth
For all the talk of Selhurst Park being a bogey ground for Liverpool – the 3-3 draw in 2014 always stands out – they have actually excelled there in recent years.
In fact, the Reds have won on their last eight trips to south London, seven of which came in the league and the other in the FA Cup in 2015.
Let’s not end the good run now, Reds!
8. Did You Know?
Jota’s return from injury recently is an obvious boost for Liverpool, with his eye for goal something that has been priceless for the Reds at times.
Curiously, though, the Portuguese now hasn’t scored for the Reds for in almost 11 months, dating back to his equaliser away to Man City last April.
That’s a run of 24 matches without finding the net, and while 13 of those have been as a substitute, it is still a shock statistic.
A return to goalscoring ways is desperately needed.
9. Darren England takes charge
Darren England will referee Saturday’s game, as he looks to remain focused in a potentially feisty atmosphere.
The only Liverpool match that the 38-year-old has officiated this season is the 3-0 defeat at Brighton, so we don’t have fond memories of him.
10. Follow the match with TIA
TIA’s matchday live blog will be up and running from 7pm, with Sam Millne tasked with keeping you entertained and up-to-date.
Come on you Reds!