Liverpool return to Selhurst Park on Saturday in a bid to keep their FA Cup hopes alive when they take on a spirited Crystal Palace side. Back in last April, Brendan Rodgers’ side suffered the humiliation of squandering a 3-0 lead with 11 minutes remaining as a 3-3 thriller virtually killed Liverpool’s Premier League charge. And there are hardly any fond memories of this fixture this season as Gerrard and co. lost 3-1 in November. Liverpool have been in good form in recent weeks and the FA Cup remains their only hope for silverware this season, so we are in for a cracker.
Let’s put ourselves in Brendan Rodgers’ shoes and predict the Liverpool team which could take the field against a resilient Palace side.
Goalkeeper – Simon Mignolet.
Mignolet remains the Reds’ first choice between the sticks, despite a patchy start to the campaign.
Defence – Lovren, Skrtel, Sakho.
Emre Can should move into midfield in the absence of Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva through injury, which would mean summer signing Dejan Lovren would feature in a back there alongside the hard-tackling Martin Skrtel and the ever-reliable Mamadou Sakho.
Midfield – Markovic, Henderson, Can, Moreno.
Lazar Markovic is expected to play on the right side of a midfield four, filling in as a wing back at times. Markovic would be looking to back up his impressive performance against Tottenham at Anfield when he scored the opener. Jordan Henderson and Emre Can offer running ability in midfield while Alberto Moreno offers a sound defensive option as well as an attacking threat down the left side.
Forwards – Lallana, Coutinho, Sturridge.
Daniel Sturridge looked unsurprisingly rusty against Tottenham on his first start in months, but should retain his place ahead of goalscoring hero Mario Balotelli. Adam Lallana looked lively in the week and set up Balotelli’s winner and the former Southampton man’s ability to pick that final pass makes him a key component in the Liverpool side. Philippe Coutinho should line up on the left in a three man forward line but his tendency to cut inside and find pockets of space can help open up the game.