Liverpool are closing in on their first ever Premier League title and they will go one step closer with a win against Crystal Palace. The Eagles are a side that have caused a lot of problems for the Reds in recent seasons. At the weekend. the away side showed their defensive quality at Bournemouth as they kept yet another clean sheet. They won’t roll over easily on Wednesday night.
During their first match back, Liverpool were far from their fluent best as they played out a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby. They were missing a number of key players and they were left unbalanced as a result. Andrew Robertson was a huge miss, with James Milner and Joe Gomez having to deputise at left back. They will want to show improvement against Crystal Palace, but it won’t be easy against one of the best defences in the league.
Roy Hodgson is a former Liverpool manager, who will be wanting to get one over on his former club. His spell in charge at Anfield was a huge disappointment and supporters never took to him. However, he has since proven his quality at a number of different Premier League. His current job with Crystal Palace could rank as his best, as he has provided stability and pushed the club on during his tenure. The weekend’s victory against Bournemouth gives them momentum to finish the season strongly. They will go to Anfield with a lot of confidence.
Liverpool have failed to win two of their last three Premier League games. This is as many as in the previous 38.
The win over Bournemouth marked the first time Crystal Palace scored more than one goal in the first half of a Premier League match this season.
The Senegalese attacker will be looking to finish the season strongly, with an outside chance to win the top goal scorer award. He currently has 14 goals, which is five goals behind Jamie Vardy. Although it would be a tough ask, it is within the realms of possibility and it will give him something to aim for when the title is confirmed. Against Everton, he struggled to impact the match and it was clear that the defenders were looking to nullify him. Crystal Palace are on a long run without conceding a goal and they will be a tough team to break down on Wednesday night. Mohamed Salah could be brought back into the starting eleven, but Mane will have more match sharpness and the player that Palace fear more. The Reds have been close to perfect at home this season and they will want to maintain that record until the end of the season.
The remaining matches will provide an opportunity for Wilfried Zaha to prove that he is one of the best players in the league. Although he didn’t get on the scoresheet against Bournemouth, he did threaten. The quick winger had two shots and completed five dribbles. Further to this, he won the free kick that led to Palace’s opening goal. It is his ability to win fouls that makes him so vital for Palace. The Eagles carry a huge threat at set pieces and this will be central to their game plan at Anfield. They will look to contain Liverpool, before providing a threat on the counter attack and set pieces. Zaha’s ability to carry the ball long distances and win fouls makes him the key man for the visitors.
Joel Matip and James Milner are both doubts following their withdrawal on Sunday. Andrew Robertson is still nursing a knock. Mohamed Salah could return to the starting eleven.
Crystal Palace have a few injuries of their own, with Martin Kelly, Jeff Schlupp and James Tomkins all unlikely to start during the week.
This is unlikely to be a game of many goals. Crystal Palace very well organised under Hodgson, as their recent defensive record shows. Meanwhile, Liverpool looked to lack their usual goal threat without Robertson in the team. They lacked balance and their attacks became a lot more predictable. If he doesn’t start on Wednesday, this could be another slow day for them. That said, they are usually reliable at Anfield and they should find a breakthrough to take three points.
Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace