Top four contenders Liverpool host a resurgent Crystal Palace side on Sunday and with seven teams in contention for the Champions League spots, this home tie presents itself as a must win to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Reds currently sit third in the Premier League and a win here could be really beneficial in regards to a top four finish, especially when the difficulty of Manchester United and Arsenal’s run-ins are considered.
Meanwhile, Palace manager Sam Allardyce will be hoping to put an end to a terrible run at Anfield. He has never been on victorious in any of his 13 visits, drawing three and losing ten.
Liverpool have impressed as of late, taking three points from smaller teams that they often struggle against. Klopp’s side were able to grind out victories away at Stoke and West Brom. In both these wins, the Reds were resolute and their high-performance level will have pleased their German manager immensely.
As for the Eagles, their recent form is just as impressive. Sam Allardyce seems to have completely transformed this Palace squad since his arrival and this has led to impressive victories over Chelsea and Arsenal.
The upturn in form of Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha has lifted the side up the table and the arrival of Mamadou Sakho on loan from Liverpool cannot be overlooked has he has really shored up the Eagles’ defence.
Estonian centre-back Ragnar Klavan joins an extensive injury list for the Reds with a knee problem, while fellow defender Joel Matip will have last minute tests before this fixture. Should Joel Matip be unable to play, youngster Joe Gomez would be the only alternative that could replace him.
Lucas Leiva and Roberto Firmino trained individually this week but the Brazilian pair should be fit to face Palace. Meanwhile Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson are both long-term absentees but Adam Lallana has returned to action. However, he isn’t sharp enough to feature on Sunday,
Sam Allardyce will be without loanee Mamadou Sakho, who is ineligible as he is unable to face his parent club. However, with the Frenchman out, the return of James Tomkins could not have come at a better time as Palace. Scott Dann will also miss this game as he hasn’t recovered from the injury he picked up against Chelsea.
Match Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace
The ex-Liverpool striker Christian Benteke will arrive with a point to prove to his former club and the Belgian will be hoping to continue his fantastic goal-scoring form, having scored three goals in his last four games.
It may need another gritty and hard-fought performance for Liverpool to get all three points here but, with the quality they have despite their long injury list, they are still expected to come out on top.