Liverpool v Crystal Palace preview: Mamadou Sakho out for visitors
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 23/04/17 3:21pm
Crystal Palace will be without defender Mamadou Sakho when they travel to Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
The defender has impressed for the Eagles in recent weeks, but will not feature this weekend as he is on loan from Liverpool and the terms of the deal mean he is ineligible to face his parent club.
"He's been one of the reasons why we have pulled around such a dramatic recovery in the last six games and why we have picked up so many points," said Palace manager Sam Allardyce.
"He's been a key figure in there. We've managed to capitalise hugely on the fact that he decided to come to Crystal Palace.
"You have to give Mama a lot of credit for coming to a club that looked like it was doomed for relegation and showing his worth and ability and skill."
Palace have won five of their last seven games to move seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have maintained their top-four challenge with wins at Stoke and West Brom in their last two matches.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is wary of the threat posed by former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke on his return to Anfield.
"When the ball is in the air Christian is a major threat. We felt it a lot of times here," he said. "If we let them cross 50 balls it's pretty likely he will have some dangerous headers.
"But if you only concentrate on Benteke, you have (Wilfried) Zaha and (Andros) Townsend around him. That is one of the best offensive lines in the Premier League."
Liverpool are awaiting updates on the fitness of defenders Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan, as well as midfielder Lucas Leiva.
The trio have not trained this week due to injury and if none manage to make it, Klopp faces the prospect of giving 19-year-old centre-back Joe Gomez his first Premier League start since September 2015 having missed most of last season after a knee operation.
Adam Lallana (groin) is currently undergoing outdoor work with the Reds' rehabilitation coach and is expected to return to team training next week, but there is no comeback date yet pencilled in for fellow midfielder and captain Jordan Henderson.
In Sakho's absence, fit-again James Tomkins is expected to return to Allardyce's starting XI. Loic Remy and James McArthur have also returned to contention.
The manager remains without long-term absentees Scott Dann, Pape Souare, Fraizer Campbell and Connor Wickham.
Liverpool have won their last two Premier League games against Palace, after going four without a victory against them (D1 L3).
Palace have won on their last two visits to Anfield in the Premier League. The last team to win three in a row there were Chelsea in October 2005.
Allardyce has never won a Premier League game at Anfield as a manager (D3 L10). The only away ground he's lost at as many times is Old Trafford (also 10).
Roberto Firmino has scored in his last two Premier League games against the Eagles, with the goals coming in the 71st and 72nd minutes.
Former Liverpool player Benteke has scored three goals in his two previous Premier League games at Anfield as an opposition player.
Only Spurs (18) and opponents Liverpool (14) have won more points across their last six Premier League games than Palace (13).
Liverpool have lost just once in their last 24 Premier League games at Anfield (W15 D8), but have kept just seven clean sheets in that time.
Palace will take the game to Liverpool and they have the weapons on the break to make this very interesting.
If they play to his strengths, Benteke could be a handful and Zaha has looked in the mood since the turn of the year.
When teams come onto them and attack, that's when Palace are dangerous and Liverpool have slipped up a few times against teams down the table.
It should be an entertaining game with plenty of goals but Liverpool's attacking firepower will just get them over the line.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-2 (Sky Bet odds 25/1)
Liverpool's are just 4/9 with Sky Bet to secure the victory as Palace go up against odds of 5/1 for another win, while the draw is priced at 100/30. Klopp's men head into the clash as odds-on shots to secure a top-four finish, while the Eagles are considered all but safe at 33/1 to face the drop. Divock Origi and Firmino are Sky Bet's 4/1 first goal favourites, while Benteke is enhanced from 8/1 to 10/1 in Sky Bet's Price Boosts to break the deadlock against his former club.