Liverpool will travel to London to take on Crystal Palace on Monday, as the Reds look to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings, following the Citizens 3-2 win over Everton on Saturday.
The Reds saw City climb over them to take control of the top spot, courtesy of a superior goal difference, and with just two matches remaining for both sides, neither can afford to drop any points whatsoever.
Crystal Palace are safe from relegation and have little left to play for, but they won't be planning on getting embarrassed in front of millions of viewers as Liverpool need to score early and often to boost their goal difference.
Date: Monday, May 5
Time: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET
Venue: Selhurst Park, London
Merseyside-rivals Everton couldn't do the Reds any favours, losing to the Citizens on Saturday to give them the top spot on the Premier League standings. With the pressure now shifting back to Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers and his team can't afford any other result than a win on Monday.
City still play Aston Villa and West Ham at home, teams that shouldn't pose too much of a problem for the team, so Liverpool can't rely on too much help coming from those two sides should they drop any points against Palace.
Jordan Henderson will be suspended for this match, but he should be the only notable omission for the Reds, who will see Victor Moses return and could be boosted by Daniel Sturridge rounding back into form following injury.
Kop 305 confirmed the England international was back in training during the weekend:
Daniel Sturridge back in training today after continued hamstring problems. pic.twitter.com/QtRrauTQMr— Kop 305 (@Kop305) May 3, 2014
Tony Pulis doesn't have to worry about too many injuries either, as Kagisho Dikgacoi is the only real question mark heading into this tie. The South African was unavailable for his team last week and has been vital for Palace in the last few weeks, which saw the team clinch their spot in next year's Premier League.
As shared by Joe Crann, Dikgacoi has told everyone listening he'd love to stay with the club, with his contract set to expire during the summer.
Kagisho Dikgacoi: I don’t have any reason to leave Palace... everyone associated with the club have been great to me. So why leave? #SLnews— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) May 2, 2014
While Liverpool should (and will) be heavy favourites in this match, Rodgers shouldn't overlook Monday's opponents. Prior to last week's loss against City, Palace had won five straight matches, including fixtures against heavily favoured teams like Chelsea and Everton.
In four of those five matches, Palace didn't concede a single goal, with the margin of victory being just one goal in three of those four. This bodes well for Liverpool's explosive attacking unit, which is currently tied with City's as the best in the Premier League, per WhoScored.com.
The difference in goal differential between City and the Reds is nine goals, and it seems very unlikely Liverpool would be able to make up that difference in just two matches. But the club has had the tendency to score early in matches, and playing with the lead, Rodgers could very well decide to throw all of his weight forward.
Palace rely on discipline and organisation, but they're not necessarily as talented as one would expect given their spot in the standings. If Liverpool score early and decide to keep playing with a high pressing line, the hosts could simply lack the quality to take advantage of the spaces available behind the defence.
Will Liverpool score five or six goals? It's improbable, but not impossible. The Reds' next and final opponent will be Newcastle, who've conceded more goals than any other team not facing relegation. If Liverpool could pick two teams to play to do the impossible, Palace and Newcastle would be very high on their list of candidates.
But winning will be the No. 1 priority on Monday, and the Reds will mainly hope for Villa or West Ham to help their title bid out when those teams take on City.