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    Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Match Preview


    Crystal Palace and Liverpool kick-off this weekend's Premier League action at Selhurst Park on Saturday, with both teams in desperate need of all three points for very different reasons.

    The home side find themselves in 16th-place, just two points outside of the bottom-three, while their star-studded opponents still harbour hopes of claiming the runners-up spot behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

    Palace have won four of their last seven encounters against Saturday's opponents, although it is Liverpool who hold the most recent edge having won 1-0 at Anfield in August courtesy of a Sadio Mane goal.

    Crystal Palace

    Crystal Palace endured a disastrous start to the season having accumulated just four points from their opening 11 games, which left the club rooted to the bottom of the table and with little hope of survival.

    The Eagles then went on an impressive 15-match run between mid-October and early-February, which consisted of only two defeats, both against Arsenal, and included victories against Leicester and Burnley.

    However, eight draws during this period was one of the main reasons why Roy Hodgson's side still remained only three points ahead of the drop zone in 14th-place, while four successive defeats subsequently dragged the club back into the bottom-three.

    A 2-0 victory at Huddersfield proved pivotal immediately before the international break, with goals from James Tomkins and Luka Milivojevic helping to create a two-point buffer between themselves and 18th-place Southampton.

    Even though Hodgson will be eager his team to maintain those same standards on Saturday against Liverpool, he will also be mindful that the final six games of the season will play a far bigger role in determining the club's future.

    All six matches are against sides from outside the top-seven, including a trip Stoke and a home match against West Brom, while opponents such as Leicester may have little to play for having secured their own Premier League survival.

    Palace's top-scorer this campaign is Luka Milivojevic who has eight Premier League goals, two ahead of Bakary Sako's overall tally and three ahead of James McArthur's total from all competitions.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool were in imperious form as they swept Watford aside 5-0 a fortnight ago, with Mohamed Salah scoring four goals to take him ahead of Harry Kane and Lionel Messi as the highest goalscorer in Europe's top-five leagues.

    Cristiano Ronaldo subsequently scored four goals the following day to move one ahead of Salah on 37 club goals, while the Portuguese also came out on top when the two players went head-to-head last Friday on international duty.

    Salah's 38th goal for club and country this season looked to have earned his side victory in the much-hyped friendly before two Ronaldo strikes in stoppage-time turned the match on its head.

    It remains to be seen whether The Reds can maintain their recent momentum following the recent two-week break, with Southampton, West Ham and Newcastle also put to the sword in emphatic style over the past seven weeks.

    A win at Saturday lunch-time would put Jurgen Klopp's team a point above Manchester United in second-place, albeit having played two games more, as they prepare for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

    This weekend marks the start of a critical fortnight in the club's season, with a Merseyside derby taking place at Goodison Park next weekend that is immediately followed by the return leg against City.

    The Reds have a mixed record against Crystal Palace since The Eagles' return to the Premier League in 2013, although Klopp's team have won three of the last four meetings including a 1-0 victory at Anfield in August.

    Crystal Palace Team News

    Injury-plagued Crystal Palace could have Wilfried Zaha, Alexander Sorloth and James Tomkins all available for this weekend's clash against Liverpool, although they still have a further seven players ruled-out.

    Zaha will be assessed ahead of the match having not trained during the international break due to a knee problem and the participation of Tomkins (knock) and Sorloth (hamstring) is also in doubt.

    Jeffrey Schlupp and Joel Ward are still recovering from respective ankle and muscle problems, while second-choice goalkeeper Julian Speroni will not return until April having sustained a knee injury.

    Bakary Sako (broken ankle), Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon (both knee) have already been ruled-out for the remainder of the season but Connor Wickham could still feature this campaign despite picking up a groin injury this week in training.

    Liverpool Team News

    Nathaniel Clyne has been included in a Liverpool first-team squad for the first time this season following his recovery from a back injury, and the 26-year-old could be named amongst the substitutes this weekend.

    Joe Gomez, who has played 29 matches this season as a right-back in-place of Clyne, picked-up a hamstring problem in England's 1-0 win over The Netherlands last Friday and has not recovered in time to play.

    It is also unlikely that Emre Can will feature due to a back issue, with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner all battling it out to claim the three central midfield spots.

    Dejan Lovren (ankle), Dominic Solanke (toe) and Andrew Robertson (dead leg) are all set to recover from minor injuries, although Joel Matip is still expected to keep his centre-back spot at Lovren's expense.

    Head-to-head

    Crystal Palace won three successive Premier League encounters against Liverpool between November 2014 and November 2015, while they also claimed three consecutive wins at Anfield from May 2015 to April 2017.

    Jurgen Klopp's side, however, have triumphed in three of the last four matches, which included a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park in March 2016 when Christian Benteke scored a 96th-minute penalty to deny the team he would later join that summer.

    The two clubs have met on 17 occasions in the Premier League, with Liverpool winning nine of those matches compared to Palace's five victories, while three encounters ended in draws.

    In a head-to-head that was first contested in 1938, The Reds also lead the way in terms of overall wins having come out on top on 25 occasions compared to their opponents' 14 victories, although 11 games between the teams have been drawn.

    Score Prediction

    Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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