Venue – Selhurst Park, London
Referee – Neil Swarbrick
Date & Time – Saturday, March 31st @ 12:30 GMT
Current Odds – Crystal Palace 13/2, Draw 7/2, Liverpool 2/5
Crystal Palace Form
Before their 2-0 win at Huddersfield, Crystal Palace had gone seven games without tasting victory, losing in five of those matches. To be fair to The Eagles, they did have to face Spurs, United and Chelsea during that spell. Hodgson’s men now find themselves in 16th position, just two points above the relegation zone. However, this is their last game against one of the top six so they face an “easier” run-in than some of their relegation-threatened counterparts.
The Reds bounced back after their defeat at Old Trafford in some style. Watford were trashed 5-0 at Anfield, with Mo Salah scoring four and moving to 28 league goals for the season – a stunning debut-season record – and he’s not finished yet.
Liverpool have won 6, drawn 2, and lost 1 of their last 9 games in all competitions. They have also 6 clean sheets in that time. A quick look at the table below shows their average xG rating of 1.94 in the last 5 games is very impressive compared to the average xGA (expected goals against) in that time of just 0.48. This shows the continued dominance the Reds are enjoying in most of their performances and bodes well for the remainder of this season.
Crystal Palace Team News
Palace are likely to set up in a 4231 shape with Cabaye and Milivojevic sitting at the base of the midfield. Townsend, Loftus-Cheek and Zaha (if he is fit after picking up a slight knock in recent weeks) should be the three behind the lone striker, Benteke. Mamadou Sakho will most likely face his old team as he partners Tomkins in the centre of defence.
Hodson’s injury-list is a lengthy one. He is missing the likes of Schlupp, Sorloth, Wickham, Ward, Speroni, Bakary Sako, Dann, and Puncheon.
Crystal Palace have no suspensions for this game.
Palace’s Top 3 Rated Players this season – (WhoScored.com – at least 10 appearances)
- J. Tomkins ——– 7.23
- W. Zaha ———– 7.19
- A. Townsend —– 7.08
Liverpool Team News
We’ve just endured another international break. Of course, for Liverpool fans, this means we have welcomed back some players who have picked up injuries while with their respective national teams. Joe Gomez is out for a few weeks with an ankle injury sustained for England in their win over the Netherlands. Emre Can is also a slight doubt – a back injury while with the Germany squad the reason there. Dejan Lovren is still recovering from his recent ankle injury but should be available for selection.
Nathaniel Clyne hasn’t played this season so it will take him several weeks to get up to match fitness, however, he has returned to full training and I expect to see him rack up the minutes in the coming weeks as he is rotated with Alexander-Arnold at right-back in Gomez’s absence.
Andy Robertson was reported to have picked up an injury in Scotland’s friendly, too. However, by all accounts, it does not appear to be too serious.
Klopp has some shuffling to do with the upcoming Champions League quarter-final with City on Wednesday. That game is followed by next weekend’s derby at Goodison Park and then the CL quarter-final second leg three days later. Moreno may get a start at Palace while Milner and Wijnaldum could play in midfield, to rest Can and Oxlade-Chamberlain for the City game.
Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.
Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season – (WhoScored.com – at least 10 appearances)
- M. Salah ——– 7.74
- R. Firmino —— 7.51
- S. Mané ——— 7.31
Crystal Palace XI (4-2-3-1) – Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Aanholt; Cabaye, Milivojevic(c); Townsend, Loftus-Cheek, Zaha; Benteke
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Moreno; Henderson(c), Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
When they last met
Liverpool won the return fixture at Anfield, 1-0, earlier in the season. It took a Sadio Mané goal in the 73rd minute to break the deadlock. The corresponding fixture last season was a goal-fest with Klopp’s men coming out on top in a 4-2 thriller. Can, Lovren, Matip, and Firmino were the scorers that day with James McArthur bagging a brace for The Eagles.
Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Liverpool
This Liverpool team’s fitness levels appear to be at an all-time high as we enter the final stages of the season. Klopp and his backroom team look to have finally got this squad up to the required levels to play the style he wants to play. If only international breaks could be avoided then there would be very little injury concerns for the Reds. As a result, I expect Liverpool to win convincingly at Selhurst Park on Saturday. If I was a betting man (which I am!), I would put my money on Bobby Firmino to score. Liverpool -1 is another good option, or -2 if you’re feeling that extra little bit cheeky 🙂
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **