Crystal Palace v Liverpool: Tony Pulis vows to play strongest side

The Eagles took points off Chelsea earlier this year

Tony Pulis has vowed to protect the integrity of the Barclays Premier League title race by fielding his strongest-possible Crystal Palace line-up against Liverpool.

Palace boss Pulis hoped to hand some youngsters and fringe players chances to impress now the Eagles have secured their top-flight status.

The former Stoke manager admitted he will not be in a position to experiment when the title-chasing Reds pitch up at Selhurst Park on Monday, May 5 however.

Manchester City's 2-0 win at Palace on Sunday, in light of Chelsea's 2-0 victory at Anfield, has blown the title race wide open.

Jose Mourinho was criticised for wholesale changes before Chelsea's victory at Liverpool, and Pulis was unable to resist quipping he will seek the Blues manager's advice for his team selection to face the Reds.

"I think it's my responsibility to pick the strongest team, and the team that's done the best," said Pulis.

"If I make too many changes for the Liverpool game I think that might cause some problems.

"Having said that I see Jose made a lot of changes and won at Liverpool, so maybe I'll ring him and ask him 'what's the best way to go?"'

City outgunned Palace at Selhurst Park, Edin Dzeko and chief tormentor Yaya Toure on the score sheet.

Manuel Pellegrini's side could yet steal the title thanks to a game in hand and vastly superior goal difference over both Chelsea and Liverpool.

Pulis admitted he must not mess with the silverware chase when Liverpool turn out in south London, and he conceded he must continue to keep his players focused now their survival mission is complete.

Palace's defeat on Sunday ended a five-game Premier League winning streak, and Pulis admitted the battle now is to round off the season in style.

"It's difficult, I've been in this position before once you reach safety," said Pulis.

"They've been absolutely fantastic this year, what the club have achieved this year, what the players have done for this football club, what the supporters, who again were absolutely wonderful, what they've done together as a group has been amazing.

"Our players shouldn't worry too much about a 2-0 defeat to the most expensive club side in world sport.

"That said, there's another game against a fantastic football club coming up, a night game where there will be a great atmosphere here.

"And I just hope the players are on it and we give a real good show."

PA

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