Liverpool take on Crystal Palace in a must win encounter in the Barclay’s Premier League and seek to dismiss what has become a bogey fixture in recent years.
Playing Crystal Palace in recent years has developed an edge to it and today will be no different. If Liverpool weren’t looking to achieve Champions League qualification there would still be the desire to gain vengeance over the injustice that Palace inflicted upon them in the 2013/14 season. With Liverpool in the driving seat to win the league the Eagles caused an upset scoring three goals in quick succession to steal 2 crucial points from the Reds.
Crystal Palace haven’t won a game in the last 11 attempts and anyone who has observed Liverpool for an extended period of time would know that it would be more than likely for Liverpool to be the team that gives Palace a reprieve after such a torrid streak.
Reports suggest that Conor Wickham may miss the clash after he picked up a thigh injury. This would be a boost for Liverpool as the Englishman is on-form having scored four goals in two games in the last week.
Pardew said at the pre-match conference,”We thought it might just be a bang but it could be more serious that that, he is touch and go for Sunday. It was his thigh muscle. It could be just an impact, it could be a strain.
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“Connor has done terrifically and the four goals he got were fabulous. They showed his technique is sound – left foot, right foot, pace, holding up, he’s got it all there – but he’s had a fragmented season.” [Daily Mail]
Liverpool are no stranger to injuries themselves with Lucas Leiva picking up a very bizarre thigh injury himself. Daniel Sturridge will return to the side boosting the fire-power at Klopp’s disposal. The German may actually have a selection headache as for the first time in ages he has an abundance of attacking options fit and available.
Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho all returned from spells on the sidelines around the same time giving the impression that Liverpool had in fact made a cluster of impressive January signings. That is always the case when Sturridge returns such is the length of his absences.
You could almost be sure that Klopp will start Sturridge or that Benteke won’t start. If Sturridge isn’t to be risked there is always Origi and in-form Roberto Firmino who has arguably been Liverpool’s best performer, or at least the most consistent since Klopp arrived on Merseyside.
Many on social media have made the call for Adam Lallana to start after a hugely impressive outing against Manchester City in which he assisted one and scored one and grafted the whole game. This would be wise as his work ethic would keep Palace’s defenders on edge all the time.
Jürgen Klopp will be hugely hopeful of getting all three points to capitalise on the fact that Liverpool have played two games less than most of the teams in higher positions. A win today would see a rise to 7th in the table. Not all that impressive but with the game in hand Liverpool could be right back in the mix. Hopefully Klopp can dismiss the curse set on Liverpool by Crystal Palace in 2014.