Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park tomorrow to take on Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace. The Reds are coming off the back of a 2-0 away win at Arsenal in the Carabao Cup and are seeking to cut the gap to City down to 9 points. Here’s how we think Jürgen Klopp will line up.

For a match preview, you can head here:

The Eagles will offer a stern test, especially after a prolonged period of rest having not played since the 1-1 draw against Brighton on the 14th. Liverpool have played twice since that game and looked a bit tired late on against Arsenal.

Ideally, Jürgen Klopp would freshen up his line up with a handful of changes, but injuries and AFCON have denied him five or six quality options. His hands are tied a bit in that sense so we’ll see a lot of the same faces that have started the last three matches.

Alisson Becker should return in goal after bench duty at the Emirates stadium. He’s in the mix for the Golden Glove award, with only Ederson keeping more clean sheets. Another clean sheet here will make the Reds’ task that bit easier.

Ahead of the Brazilian, we should see Trent and Robertson line up again at fullback. The duo have been in top form recently, with both notching an assist against Brentford last week and impressing again against Arsenal. With such a tight turnaround between Thursday and Sunday, one could be rested.

Tsimikas could come in to offer Robbo a breather but I doubt the Scot needs one right when he’s flying. The fact that there’s a winter break after this clash also simplifies it for the manager. The Reds don’t play for two weeks after tomorrow’s trip to London.

The gaffer mentioned in his pre-match press conference that he took Matip off at halftime last time out as a precaution. If the Cameroonian hasn’t shaken off that issue, we could see Konaté come in for him again in the heart of defence, this time from the start.

If Matip feels 100% though, he should start. He’s enjoying a brilliant season, with his dribbling runs often causing overloads in the attacking third. He’s also managed to avoid the debilitating injury problems that have dogged him in the past. Van Dijk will line up next to one of Matip/Konaté.

In the middle of the park, the Fabinho/Henderson/Jones triumvirate has worked so smoothly together, offering a perfect mesh of characteristics and balance to the side. Fabinho mops up infront of the defence, Jones offers ball retention and attacking thrust whilst Henderson brings energy and running power.

Jürgen Klopp usually rotates his midfield trio but that will be tough here with Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita and Elliott all unavailable for tomorrow. James Milner is the only real option, with young Tyler Morton a step below that. The 36 year old has fallen below the levels required in his last two starts.

Milner did come on for Henderson for the last 15 minutes on Thursday night as the skipper was given a breather. With how well the midfield worked together in the wins over Brentford and Arsenal, I expect Jürgen to go same again.

Depending on how the game goes, changes can be made in the second half if any of the trio is struggling. Dominating the midfield battle against the dangerous Gallagher will go a long way to blunting Palace’s threat going forward.

Minamino celebrates with Firmino after scoring against Brentford

In the attacking third, we expect just the one change. Young Kaide Gordon played well at the Emirates and didn’t let anyone down but we suspect the gaffer will hand Minamino a start after back to back cameos.

Taki proved he could do a job on the right wing when he came on at the Emirates, and having scored in this fixture last season, should be full of confidence. Jota is better off the left wing and seeing as he’s the biggest attacking threat in the absence of Mané and Salah, he should be played where he’s most comfortable.

Bobby (another who looked exhausted late on against Arsenal) will start down the middle and look to combine with his fellow forwards. We may even see Kaide Gordon come on for Bobby late on which will see Taki move to the middle.

Win tomorrow and the gap to City is cut down to 9 points. Liverpool still have a game in hand against Leeds United, win that and it’s down to 6 points. A trip to the Etihad is still to come. All of a sudden a pathway is opening up in the minds of fans. That will all be for nowt though if the boys don’t capitalise tomorrow.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Jones, Minamino, Firmino, Jota.

Subs: Kelleher, Williams, Phillips, Gomez, Tsimikas, Morton, Milner, Dixon-Bonner, Gordon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s