Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Preview: Reds looking to close in on top-four with win over Eagles

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Preview: Reds looking to close in on top-four with win over Eagles

Crystal Palace travel to Anfield on Sunday evening hoping to move 10 points clear of the relegation zone with a win, which would almost certainly keep them in the Premier League for another season.

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Vishal Shah

Liverpool have the chance to open up a nine-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Manchester United when they face Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday.

Seemingly their biggest challengers for top-four given Manchester City have a game in hand and a straightforward fixture schedule, Liverpool can extend their advantage over José Mourinho’s men, who play in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend.

With just five games to go for the Reds and still no certainty of who will take the third and fourth place spots, Jürgen Klopp will hope his side can continue the fine form they are in, having been unbeaten in their last seven league games, winning five of them.

Both Liverpool and Palace are in fine form, despite being at opposite sides of the table.

Sam Allardyce’s men have distanced themselves from the relegation zone in recent weeks with some positive results, most notably beating both Arsenal and Chelsea.

Similar to the Reds, the Eagles have also won five of their last seven games, though they have lost one of them in comparison to this weekend's hosts.

The London outfit currently sit a comfortable seven points of the drop zone with still six games to play but they could slip back into danger if they allow their levels to drop between now and the end of the campaign.

Team news

Liverpool are encountering defensive problems as Joël Matip and Ragnar Klavan were absent from training earlier this week.

This could lead to Joe Gomez earning a rare opportunity, which would be his first appearance since 2015 in the league.

Lucas Leiva was also absent from training and could join midfielders Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana, who remain sidelined. 

Crystal Palace will be without one of their key players in recent weeks, Mamadou Sakho, as he is ineligible to face his parent club - whom he joined Palace from on a six-month loan deal in January.

James Tomkins could be set to replace the Frenchman after being passed fit.

Loïc Rémy and James McArthur are also hoping for starting roles, while former Liverpool players Christian Benteke and Martin Kelly could feature.

Head-to-head

The Reds have won the last two league meetings between the two sides.

However, the last two games that have been played at Anfield have resulted in wins for Palace. The last time a visiting team won three times in a row at Anfield was back in 2005.

Crystal Palace were responsible for Klopp’s first defeat as Liverpool manager back in November 2015.

Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino has scored in his last two Premier League games against Crystal Palace and has also scored the winning goal in the Reds' last two outings.

Ex-Liverpool striker Benteke has scored three times during his last two visits to Anfield as an opposition player, with five in seven against Liverpool in total.

Liverpool’s five league defeats this season have come against teams who started the game in the bottom half of the table, but have only lost once in their last 24 league games at home. 

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