Football fans across the country will cast their attention to Saturday's early kick-off in the Premier League this weekend. Liverpool are looking to extend their lead at the top of the table, while Crystal Palace aim to break into the top 10. 

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool go into the game off the back of a 2-1 victory at home to Tottenham Hotspur, where a herculean header from Roberto Firmino in the dying embers of the game proved to be the dagger to the heart for Jose Mourinho.

Palace in contrast, held out for a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium in midweek, after a Christian Benteke red card restricted Roy Hodgson's chances of finding the winner against West Ham

A win for the champions could see them top at Christmas by six points, but the Eagles will hope to stop them in their tracks to improve on their twelfth spot. 

  • Team News

Crystal Palace will be without their starting striker on Saturday, after Benteke picked up a second yellow card against West Ham in midweek. 

The medical staff are also monitoring Mamadou Sakho. The central defender has sustained a calf injury and won't feature against his former club. 

That, thankfully for Hodgson, was the end of the bad news. The rest of the team remain fit to start. 

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Liverpool have been eclipsed by injuries this season, but the positive news is starting to project out the medical department recently.

While James Milner, Thiago Alcantara, and Xherdan Shaqiri remain unfit, it is understood that the trio could return to full training as early as next week.

The former London-based midfielder, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, hasn't made an appearance since his return to fitness, so could feature on Saturday. 

  • Ones to watch

Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha

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There's no doubt that Wilfried Zaha is the key to Palace's success. The Eagles may find themselves swamped by Liverpool's front three through the majority of the game, but when Palace do get a chance, the Ivorian conductor will be crucial if Palace are to score.

In his 'roaming executioner' role, Zaha will drift from left to right trying to infiltrate the visitor's makeshift defence. His clinical nature has been highlighted already this season, and his finishing is pivotal to his side's chances on Saturday.

Without Benteke by his side, Hodgson will rely solely on the talisman to conjure a finishing touch to his Palace line-up. Eberechi Eze will act as the orchestrator while Zaha plays the role of finisher. 

Liverpool: Curtis Jones

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The obvious ones to watch for the champions would be the frightening trio up front of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, who have collectively marshalled their side to recent success in Europe and the Premier League. But Curtis Jones' recent form cannot be forgotten in Hodgson's pre-match preparation. 

The Eagles' boss will focus his attention almost exclusively on thwarting Liverpool's famous three, but Jones has arguably been the best player to put on the red shirt in the last few games.

Weaving his way through cracks of opposition defences, using flair and determination, Jones has had the brush in his hands throughout Liverpool's artwork-like performances.

After waves of false hope prospects such as Ben Woodburn, Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan, it seems Liverpool have found their new golden midfielder. An heir to the throne of Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard.

  • Predicted Lineups

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Guaita; Clyne, Kouyate, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Jeffrey Schlupp, Luka Milivojevic, McArthur, Eze; Zaha, Benteke

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane

  • Previous Meeting

An empty Anfield was soon transformed into a pit of fire for Palace, the last time these two clubs met, as Liverpool were 4-0 victors during 'Project Restart.'

Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Salah and Mane, wrapped up a delightful performance for the reds and rubbed salt in the wounds of the Eagles.

It was Liverpool's 20th Anfield win of the 2019-20 season in all competitions (23rd home match), making them the first club in Europe's big-five leagues to win 20 home matches in that campaign.

  • Where to watch

The game will be broadcasted live on BT Sport 1 for the 12:30 PM GMT kickoff time on Saturday. 

There will also be a live blog on VAVEL that you can opt to follow along for minute to minute updates on the game.

  • Prediction

Crystal Palace face their most difficult challenge of the season so far this weekend. 

Firmino and Salah have been scintillating in recent games, and it can't be too much longer before Mane recaptures his form and bags a few. Though Palace have found attacking threat in the form of Benteke and his newly found confidence, he is out for the game and this could cause resounding ramifications for Hodgson.

Palace will need to remain compact from the first minute to the last, and though they are capable, it will be almost impossible for them to keep Liverpool out for the entire game.

The Eagles' will find pockets of space themselves, especially because of Liverpool's eclipsed defence. But Saturday's contest may prove to be out of the Londoner's depth.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool

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