Liverpool can take a step closer to the Premier League title when they take on Crystal Palace at Anfield.
Anfield, Liverpool, England
Key Stat: Crystal Palace will be no pushovers - they have won their last four matches, all without conceding.
Expert Verdict: A draw on their return to action against Everton, coupled with Manchester City's two wins, means Liverpool are still two games from the Premier League title at least. They can take another step closer with victory in this match, but this could be a tight one given Crystal Palace's impressive form.
James Milner suffered a hamstring injury last time out, while Joel Matip took a blow in the Merseyside Derby stalemate too. They join Xherdan Shaqiri on the sidelines. Mo Salah could return to the starting line-up, as could Andrew Robertson.
Sadio Mane – Scored one of his 14 league goals this season when these teams met at Selhurst Park. He has developed a habit of scoring winners lately too.
Mo Salah – Liverpool will be keen to have the Egyptian forward back as he looks to add to his 16 league goals so far this season.
Virgil van Dijk – Imperative at the back against what could be a physical Palace side, as Liverpool look for a second clean sheet in a row.
Despite their dominant season, a goalless draw with Everton last time out means Liverpool have actually won just one of their last five matches, suffering defeats in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League during that run.
Defenders:Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson
Midfielders:Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Forwards:Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane
Martin Kelly, Jeffrey Schlupp and James Tomkins all picked up training-ground injuries on Crystal Palace’s return to action and all three remain sidelined.
Jordan Ayew – Scored his tenth league goal of the season last time out to continue a hugely impressive season up front.
Christian Benteke – Netted against his former team when Palace last beat them, and the Belgian striker has regained popularity lately.
Luka Milivojevic – Key in midfield but also capable of goals, as he proved when he netted in the 2-0 win at Bournemouth last time out.
Crystal Palace made it four wins in a row, all without conceding, when they returned to action with a 2-0 victory at Bournemouth. It followed up their three consecutive 1-0 wins before lockdown. Luka Milovojevic and Jordan Ayew scored their goals last time out.
Defenders:Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt
Midfielders:Cheikh Kouyate, Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur
Forwards:Jordan Ayew, Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha
Liverpool famously drew with Palace when they were fighting for the title back in 2014, but that is a rare blip. Indeed, the Reds have won their last five Premier League meetings – including a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park in November thanks to Roberto Firmino’s late winner – after Wilfried Zaha cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener. Here are the results of their last five matches:
Nov 23, 2019: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Jan 19, 2019: Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace
Aug 20, 2018: Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool
Mar 31, 2018: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Aug 19, 2017: Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace’s preview for this game played on the fact everybody has been ignoring Liverpool’s opponents in the narrative of them closing in on their Premier League title.
But the Reds would be unwise to dismiss this Palace team themselves, given Roy Hodgson’s men have now won four in a row and not conceded in any of those games.
They are firmly in the hunt for European qualification themselves now and could draw level on points with seventh-placed Tottenham with a win in this match.
Nevertheless, there is no doubting Liverpool are favourites even if they looked sluggish on their return in a low-key Merseyside Derby.
Indeed, Everton finished that game on top and Liverpool need to get a momentum going – particularly as, regardless of the result in this game, their next league match is at the Etihad against Manchester City.
They will win the title if they win that game, although of course a win in this game and a City defeat against Chelsea will mean Liverpool could still have wrapped it up before then.
At the very least though, Liverpool will want to build some momentum – and the best way to do that would be to get back to winning ways.
A run of one win in five games is not title-winning form, though it is the only blip Liverpool have suffered all season.
The sooner they can fix that and set the record straight, the sooner they can get back to celebrating what had been an astonishing season.
If nothing else, they still need 18 points from their remaining eight matches to set a new points record – and a win in this game would help massively in that regard.
Despite Crystal Palace’s good form, Liverpool go into this game as big favourites to win. They are a best price of 3/10 with Ladbrokes.
Palace have kept clean sheets in each of their last four matches and under 2.5 goals in this game will return a best price of 6/5 with Betfair.
Nevertheless, the Eagles have been short of goals themselves and you can bet against both teams to score at 7/10 with Betfair.
At the other end, Sadio Mane has developed a knack for winning goals and he is 23/20 score at any time with 888sport.
Crystal Palace have not conceded in their last four games but Liverpool have the attacking firepower they need to get all three points.