Premier League Preview: How Liverpool Will Line Up Against Crystal Palace
Liverpool's Premier League title hopes received a major blow after their loss to Chelsea last Sunday. Following Manchester City's result against Everton yesterday, the Reds need to be at their best against Crystal Palace on Monday to get the result they need to keep their title challenge alive.
The reverse fixture at Anfield ended in a 3-1 win to Brendan Rodgers' men, with Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard getting the goals for the Reds and Dwight Gayle bagging the Eagles' consolation.
With the news that Sturridge may be fit to return to the starting XI against Palace, per ESPNFC, here is our predicted Liverpool line-up, in their standard attacking 4-3-3 formation, for their visit to Selhurst Park.
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
With Palace enjoying a fine run of form in recent weeks, Simon Mignolet will need to be at his best if Liverpool are to come away with a much-needed three points.
Right-Back: Glen Johnson
When on his game, Glen Johnson is still one of the Premier League's best attacking full-backs, but inconsistency has been a hallmark of a stop-start season for the England defender.
He'll need to turn his forward forays into productive contributions on Monday in what promises to be a tricky fixture for Liverpool.
Left-Back: Jon Flanagan
When Palace visited Anfield back in October, Liverpool fans could've been forgiven if they'd completely forgotten about the presence of Jon Flanagan.
Fast forward just over half a year and Flanagan has become an ever-present in their starting XI.
Centre-Back: Martin Skrtel
Liverpool will be well aware of the physical approach that Tony Pulis teams take, and Martin Skrtel will be an important component of the Reds' defence on Monday.
He might even need to come up with an eighth goal of a prolific season to take advantage of his team's set-piece threat to win it.
Centre-Back: Mamadou Sakho
Mamadou Sakho will be keeping his place in Brendan Rodgers' first team to combat what surely will be a hostile atmosphere at Selhurst Park.
He will also need to cut out his rash challenges to avoid putting his team under pressure.
Holding Midfielder: Steven Gerrard
It was Steven Gerrard's poor touch and slip that led to Chelsea's opening goal last Sunday—that it came deep into first-half stoppage time was extremely unfortunate and changed the entire match.
Rodgers has since come out in public support of his skipper, and Gerrard will be sure to atone for his mistake last week. His set pieces may prove the difference on Monday.
Central Midfielder: Lucas
When Jordan Henderson received his marching orders in the pivotal match against Manchester City a few weeks back, Liverpool knew they would be deprived of one of their most important players for the crucial title run-in.
In his place, Lucas has been far from inspirational, and another abject performance last week led to his substitution for Daniel Sturridge in an ultimately failed bid to wrestle the match back from Chelsea.
He'll have plenty to prove at Palace.
Attacking Midfielder: Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has been reformed as a central midfielder in recent months, but his creativity and attacking guile will be needed on Monday if Liverpool are to unlock a resolute Palace rearguard.
Another late winner, like his scintillating finish against City, would be most welcome.
Right Forward: Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling has been one of Liverpool's most important players since returning to Rodgers' first team, and he has provided the difference when his team has needed it most.
Another strong all-round display would be crucial to Liverpool's title hopes, and would do his chances of earning a starting place in Roy Hodgson's England line-up in Brazil this summer no harm at all.
Left Forward: Luis Suarez
With 30 goals for the season, Luis Suarez needs just one more to equal the Premier League record for most goals scored in a 38-game season.
That will not be on his mind as Suarez looks to help Liverpool win a coveted league title, but if he manages to score a couple of important winners that will do just fine for all associated with the Reds.
Striker: Daniel Sturridge
It's testament to the stunning form that Daniel Sturridge has shown this season that his recent goal drought of four matches is his longest goalless streak this term.
As he fights to be fit to fire Liverpool to the title, a goal (or two) from the No. 15 would be a most welcome boost at Selhurst Park.