Crystal Palace vs Everton preview: Marco Silva wary of Luka Milivojevic threat
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Last Updated: 27/04/19 7:11am
Everton manager Marco Silva highlighted the threat of Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic after insisting he is fully focused on this weekend's trip to Selhurst Park.
Silva is determined to end this season with a flourish and Everton will visit Palace having won four of their last five games, a run which includes victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Last weekend's 4-0 thumping of United at Goodison Park will live long in the memory for Toffees fans, but Silva insisted his side - currently ninth in the Premier League table, two points behind seventh-placed Wolves - cannot afford to underestimate Roy Hodgson's side.
While most observers pinpoint Wilfried Zaha as the Eagles' talisman, Silva knows Milivojevic can be a formidable opponent, having managed the Serbian midfielder at Greek side Olympiacos.
Silva said at his pre-match press conference: "In my opinion, they have really high quality in their attack line with one player who is the key player who I know very well: Luka will play in the middle zone and can support really well their attack line.
"They will be tough, it is a tough place to play but in my opinion, it is a good place to play, also. It's up to us to do our best and if we reach our best level we can win the match.
"I'm really happy when I can see our team perform like we did (against United), our players enjoying the game and our fans also. But it was just three points for us.
"We have to keep working hard to achieve what we want the week after.
"This season hasn't finished yet, there are many things to keep winning until the end, even if you are talking just about three games.
"Next season will be the same, in the right moment we will talk about next season, it is not the moment to talk now. Now, for us, it is really important to put full focus on the Palace match, nothing more."
Zaha last week cast doubt over his future at Selhurst Park by stating his desire to experience Europe's premier club competition.
Roy Hodgson hopes all of his players aspire to play Champions League football and believes it is "not an impossible dream" for them to do it with Crystal Palace.
While Eagles manager Hodgson wishes to keep Zaha in south London, he also feels members of his squad should be ambitious.
"I think if you're in the Premier League and, at the moment, you find yourself sitting in 11th position, I'd like to think all of the players would be able to say they'd like to play in the Champions League," said Hodgson.
"Maybe even with Crystal Palace because we're a good way away from it but it's not an impossible dream.
"And if you're a good player in the Premier League you know there's always going to be a lot of people looking at you, possibly coveting you."
Hodgson has no fresh selection concerns. Striker Connor Wickham missed a couple of days of training this week but is available for selection.
Jeffrey Schlupp (ankle) has been ruled out for the rest of the season, while centre-backs James Tomkins (groin) and Mamadou Sakho (knee) and left-back Pape Souare (hamstring) are also sidelined.
Everton forward Richarlison is a major doubt for this weekend's trip to Crystal Palace because of a rib injury he suffered during last weekend's 4-0 drubbing of Manchester United.
The Brazilian's replacement at Goodison Park last Sunday, Theo Walcott, is struggling with sickness while midfielder Andre Gomes serves the second game of a three-match suspension.
Lucas Digne has recovered from a knock he picked up late on against United while fellow defender Yerry Mina is back in full training following a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for a month.
- Crystal Palace are winless in their last eight Premier League meetings with Everton (D4 L4) since a 3-2 win at Goodison Park in September 2014.
- Everton are unbeaten in their last seven away games against Crystal Palace in the Premier League (W4 D3), with their last defeat against them at Selhurst Park coming in October 1994.
- Crystal Palace have alternated between victory and defeat in their last nine Premier League games, winning 3-2 at Arsenal last time out.
- Only Huddersfield (8) have won fewer home points in the Premier League this season than Crystal Palace (16). Indeed, the Eagles have won 10 points more on the road (26) than they have at Selhurst Park this season (16), the biggest such difference in the competition.
- Everton have won four of their last five Premier League games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 17 (W4 D3 L10). They've kept a clean sheet in each victory, losing their last eight games in a row in which they've conceded at least once.
- Everton have won four points from their four Premier League games in London this season (W1 D1 L2). They last won more points in the capital in the 2014-15 campaign (W3 D0 L3).
- Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke netted his first Premier League goal of the season last time out against Arsenal - the Belgian last netted in back-to-back games in April 2017.
- Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson has been involved in seven Premier League goals against Crystal Palace (3 goals, 4 assists), only against Manchester United (9) has he been involved in more in the competition.
- Luka Milivojevic has scored 50% of Crystal Palace's home Premier League goals this season (7/14). The Serbian is the only Palace player to score more than once at Selhurst Park this term.
- Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has scored nine Premier League goals this season - he's never reached double figures in a single top-flight campaign before. However, eight of his nine goals this term have come away from home.
Everton have turned a corner, but one Sunday they're smashing United 4-0, the week before they're getting done by Fulham. This is it with scores at the end of the season. It's so unpredictable at times.
Palace too, they were getting beat here there and everywhere, then go to Arsenal who haven't lost at home in ages and win. But they struggle at home, so I fancy Everton to win it.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2