Crystal Palace v Liverpool preview: Reds expect to welcome back duo
By Pete Hall
Last Updated: 06/03/16 1:30pm
Liverpool are expected to welcome back attacking duo Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho for their clash at Crystal Palace on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD.
The news will soften the blow of Lucas Leiva being ruled out for around six weeks with a thigh injury - a knock picked up in the Capital One Cup final.
Sturridge and Coutinho were both rested for the midweek league encounter with City, but the pair were not missed as the Reds put in a dominant display to gain revenge for their penalty shoot-out heartache a few days earlier.
Palace's season is in danger of falling apart at the seams. The Eagles have not tasted league success since December 19, and haven't earned three points at home since the end of November.
However, Alan Pardew's men have a great record against Liverpool, and will be buoyed by the return to goalscoring form of Connor Wickham of late.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has to decide whether to stick with the same defence - with right-back Nathaniel Clyne switched to the left to allow Jon Flanagan to play - or restore genuine left-sided player Alberto Moreno despite a poor display at Wembley last weekend.
Lucas will be missing, but several changes are anticipated after rotating in midweek.
Wickham and Wayne Hennessey will undergo late fitness tests before Pardew selects his team to face Liverpool.
Striker Wickham is suffering with a thigh injury, while goalkeeper Hennessey could be replaced by Julian Speroni if he is not passed fit.
Pape Souare will start after returning from suspension, with Martin Kelly expected to be dropped, leaving only James McArthur and Jason Puncheon - expected to return to training on Monday - as Pardew's other absentees.
Crystal Palace have won six of their last 11 meetings with Liverpool in all competitions (W6 D2 L3).
In four of the last five matches in all competitions between these two sides, the team scoring first has not won (W1 D1 L3).
The last two Premier League meetings at Selhurst have seen the Reds take a 1-0 lead and lose 1-3 and a 3-0 lead only to draw 3-3.
Jordon Mutch has scored three goals in four Premier League appearances against Liverpool.
Palace have won none of their last five Premier League games at Selhurst Park and have lost the last four in a row.
Liverpool have won just one of their last seven Premier League away games against London teams (W1 D3 L3).
The Eagles have gone 11 Premier League matches without a win (D4 L7).
Palace have gone nine Premier League games since they last kept a clean sheet, conceding 21 goals in that run.
Liverpool won five and lost none of the first seven Premier League meetings with Palace, but the Eagles have won four and lost just one of the last six.
Connor Wickham has bagged a brace in each of his last two Premier League matches, having scored one goal in his 18 PL games before that.
Palace are on that glass slope with slippers on at the moment and they cannot stop sliding, while Liverpool had a great result in midweek and now the race for the top four is wide open.
Liverpool will now be thinking 'if we can put five wins together, we can finish in the top four', so it becomes a big game. But they also have that Europa League game in midweek against Man Utd, so it depends how you balance things out. This is a really awkward time for these managers - what do you go for? Do you chase the teams above you in the league or do you go 'right, if we can beat Man Utd...'?
But I am going to go 2-1 for Liverpool, as after the win against Man City I think they will be flying.
Paul predicts: 1-2 (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Watch Crystal Palace v Liverpool live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 12.30pm on Sunday