Monday, May 27, 2024

Prediction: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 23/25

Bookmaker: ZetBet

Looking to bounce back from their shocking defeat at home to Atalanta in the Europa League in mid-week, Liverpool will host Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday with the aim of staying in with a chance to win the Premier League title.

Palace, meanwhile, travel to the north-west of England on the back of facing defending champions Manchester City at home in a game they lost 2-4. As things stand, the Eagles are trying to earn valuable points to help them stay away from relegation zone.

Liverpool

It was a truly woeful performance Liverpool put in against Atalanta, thoroughly disappointing from the players who are supposed to see off manager Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season in the strongest way possible. Gianluca Scamacca struck for the Serie A side in the 38th minute and increased his team’s lead on the hour mark, before Mario Pasalic added the third seven minutes from time and made sure his team went home with a huge lead to defend in the second leg in Bergamo next week. Not one of the men who started for the Merseysiders played well, and though Klopp used all five substitutions, those who came off the bench made no difference whatsoever.

Liverpool’s focus now turns to Sunday, and having surrendered the top spot in the league to Arsenal last week through a draw away to Manchester United, beating Palace is of paramount importance if they want to stay in the race for the title.

Quite apart from that, as well as the task of overturning the three-goal deficit in Italy, the Reds are said to be working hard to secure a replacement for Klopp at the end of the season. At the moment, their primary target seems to be Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim, who has strongly denied recent claims that he had reached a verbal agreement with the Premier League giants.

Team News

Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Andy Robertson all made appearances off the bench against Atalanta, and all three are now likely to return to the starting XI in the places of Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo and Kostas Tsimikas, respectively. It’ll probably be too early for Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Stefan Bajcetic, who have just come back from injury absence, and all three are likely to be sitting in the dugout at kick-off on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is close to returning to action as well, but he isn’t expected to make the cut just yet, which means Caoimhin Kelleher is poised to resume his duties between the posts.

Joel Matip, Ben Doak and Thiago Alcantara remain long-term absentees.

Crystal Palace

Palace will face Liverpool with the intention of denting the Reds’ title aspirations and securing their first victory over Liverpool since 2017. Their last triumph at Anfield occurred in April of that year, resulting in a 2-1 win.

Apart from a couple of draws last season, Liverpool have emerged victorious in every top-flight encounter between the two teams since then. A notable example was a thrilling match at Selhurst Park in December, where Palace took the lead through Jean-Philippe Mateta, only for Salah to equalize for Liverpool in the 76th minute, followed by a last-minute winner from Elliott.

Palace have endured 15 defeats in their 31 top-flight matches this season. Despite the appointment of new manager Oliver Glasner in late February, there hasn’t been a significant improvement. Although they began his tenure with a 3-0 win against Burnley, their subsequent performances have yielded only two more points, with draws against Luton Town and Nottingham Forest, followed by losses to AFC Bournemouth and a 4-2 defeat at home to Manchester City last weekend. Goals from Mateta and Odsonne Edouard enclosed a brace from Kevin De Bruyne, and a goal from Rico Lewis and Erling Haaland each.

Currently not in immediate danger of relegation, the Eagles lead Brentford and Everton by only one and three points respectively, and they are five points clear of the danger zone with seven games remaining. They will be eager to secure earn at least something over the weekend to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle in the final stages of the season.

Team News

Palace are unlikely to make many changes to their starting XI despite the defeat to Manchester City. Glasner’s options are limited due to several key players being sidelined with injuries. Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, defenders Marc Guehi, Chris Richards, and Rob Holding, as well as midfielders Matheus Franca and Cheick Doucoure, are all expected to remain miss out.

As a result, Glasner is likely to deploy a makeshift back three consisting of Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen, and midfielder Jefferson Lerma. In midfield, Will Hughes and Adam Wharton are set to partner up once again.

Up front, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Odsonne Edouard will vie for the striker role, with Mateta expected to start after scoring his seventh Premier League goal of the season in the last match. Michael Olise,who started as a substitute in the previous game, will aim to join Mateta and Eberechi Eze in a front three, potentially replacing Jordan Ayew.

Conclusion

Liverpool are obviously the favourites to win the game and book fresh three points to help their cause in the title race, but their defensive problems aren’t likely to disappear so soon.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 23/25

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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