Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park looking to put pressure on Manchester United in the race for second place as Jürgen Klopp’s side continue their pursuit of a top-four finish, but Crystal Palace know that a surprise victory will give them a huge boost in the battle for Premier League survival.
With Joe Gomez injured after picking up an ankle knock on international duty, Trent Alexander-Arnold starts at right-back and Nathaniel Clyne returns to the bench ahead of what could be his first appearance of the season, while the combination of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and top scorer Mohamed Salah will look to inflict maximum damage on Palace.
There’s a boost for the home side though with Wilfried Zaha passed fit to start as he joins Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend in attack for the Eagles, who can jump up to 13th with a victory.
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Two teams occupied with business at different ends of the table. Liverpool have played a game more than their Top 4 rivals, and will look to push up to 2nd with a win at Selhurst Park.
Palace have won six of their last 12 meetings against The Reds and will take some confidence in to Saturday, having ended a four match losing run against Huddersfield recently.
Liverpool come in to Saturday’s game having got back on track following their derby day loss with a 5-0 win against Watford. Dejan Lovren and Emre Can could both return from their injuries, with Joe Gomez looking like missing out having pulled out of England duty in the week.
Palace also have their injury worries, with Wilfred Zaha having been sent home from Ivory Coast duty with a knock.
Liverpool, despite Palace’s past successes, will be firm favourites with their forward line firing on all cylinders at the moment. Mohamed Salah sits four goals ahead of Harry Kane with 28 league goals this year, which he’ll be looking to add to here.
What time does it start?
The match kicks off at 12:30 on Saturday 31 March.
It’s a big game for...
Mohamed Salah – there’s absolutely no pressure on the Egyptian, he could sit on his hands now and still have had a sterling first year in the Premier League. However, he’s well within touching distance of the all-time record for goals in a season (34, jointly held by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole).
1.28 – Liverpool’s average points per game tally after international matches, compared with their normal Premier League average of 1.87.
Palace managed a superb late rally to recover from being 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in this fixture back in 2014. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s title hopes, and left Stephen Gerrard sat on his haunches wondering what might have been.
Player to watch...
Christian Benteke – up against his former club, the Belgian target man will have to do a job in holding the ball up for Palace. They are unlikely to have much of the possession (Liverpool had 72% of the possession last time the teams met), and Palace can’t afford for Benteke to go missing.
Past three meetings...
Liverpool 1 (Mane) Crystal Palace 0, Premier League, August 2017
Crystal Palace 0 Liverpool 2 (Solanke, Oriji), Asia Trophy Semi-Final, July 2017
Liverpool 1 (Coutinho) Crystal Palace 2 (Benteke X2)
Crystal Palace: 27/5
Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's Premier League cencounter between Crystal Palace and Liverpool, brought to you from Selhurst Park.
Palace vs Liverpool team news
Palace vs Liverpool - last five meetings
- Liverpool 1-0 Palace, August 2017 (Premier League)
- Liverpool 1-2 Palace, April 2017 (Premier League)
- Palace 2-4 Liverpool, October 2016 (Premier League)
- Palace 1-2 Liverpool, March 2016 (Premier League)
- Liverpool 1-2 Palace, November 2015 (Premier League)
Pre-match words from Jurgen Klopp
This is what the Liverpool boss has had to say about his team selection for today's match.
Klopp has made two changes to the side that beat Watford 5-0 before the international break, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner coming in for injured duo Joe Gomez and Emre Can.
“We could have made another line-up, but we only made a line-up for the game.
“We have four days until the next game so there’s no reason to rest anybody after the two-week international break. [Then] we play Everton, then we play City again.
“For the start it was an easy decision to make – as strong as possible and still strong players on the bench. That’s how it should be.”
Pre-match words from Roy Hodgson
The Crystal Palace boss is confident that his players have the ability to produce a big upset today.
"The players need to belief that if they do all the things that they are capable of doing then we can take even the top teams to the wire which we have done and we go again today ready to give a good account of ourselves."
Nathaniel Clyne could make his long-awaited comeback for Liverpool today.
The England right-back, who hasn't played for the Reds since a July friendly against Tranmere, has been named on bench by boss Jurgen Klopp for the clash with Palace.
Klopp had this to say about the returning defender earlier this week:
“He is a top player, 100 per cent, a top professional. Before his injury Clyney played nearly all the games.
“If we had not had the two options with Joe [Gomez] and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] then we would have missed him like crazy.”
The players are out on the pitch at Selhurst Park and kick-off is just moments away!
1' - The referee gets the game underway!
5' - A bit of a slow burner, this one. Both teams still feeling each other out.
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