Liverpool might have recently felt that a golden sky was within reach following the heavy storm which has battered the Merseyside club this season, but the midweek Champions League drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid was a bitter reminder of the gulf between the current standing of the squad and the levels that Jurgen Klopp‘s side have reached in recent years.
Despite hitting a significant bump in the road just a few days ago, the Reds have the chance to clinch a third successive win in the Premier League against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park tonight, with the south Londoners yet to taste victory in 2023 or beat Liverpool on their own turf since 2014.
Indeed, the Eagles are on an eight-match winless run, conceding an equaliser against high-flying Brentford in the dying embers last week, but Patrick Vieira will be confident that his side can take advantage of Liverpool’s flagging fortunes and return to form.
However, should Liverpool secure victory, they have a perfect opportunity to close the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur to just four points, with Spurs having played two matches more than the Reds before the start of play this weekend and not in action until tomorrow afternoon.
Klopp stated that he will make changes after the embarrassing Anfield thrashing in midweek, and with this in mind, here is how we at Football FanCast’s predict Liverpool to line up tonight…
How will Liverpool line up against Crystal Palace?
Alisson takes his place between the sticks, as he has done in every league match this term. However, with Joe Gomez being withdrawn due to an injury against Real Madrid, Joel Matip could return to partner Virgil van Dijk in defence. Ibrahima Konate has returned from a knock of his own, but he might not be risked from the start against the Eagles.
Full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will likely keep their places on the flanks as they aim to channel their creativity and play definitive roles in ensuring victory for their team.
Will Liverpool win at Selhurst Park?
In midfield, some Liverpool supporters might be disappointed to see the prodigious Stefan Bajcetic return to the bench after starting the Reds’ last seven matches in all competitions, although Klopp might be keen not to burn out the “superb” 18-year-old, as he was lauded by Liverpool writer Matt Addison.
In the teenager’s stead, Naby Keita’s experience and guile could be utilised, with the Guinean midfielder ranking among the top 9% of midfielders in Europe’s five main leagues for progressive carries and 15% for rate of assists per 90.
Harvey Elliott may return in place of captain Jordan Henderson to inject some vibrancy in midfield, while despite receiving heavy criticism for some lacklustre displays this season, Fabinho could again anchor the central triad.
Diogo Jota, who was once hailed by Pep Lijnders as a “pressing monster“, could return to the starting fold after a long-term injury, with the 26-year-old replacing £35m winter signing Cody Gakpo. Elsewhere in the forward line, Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez could look to keep their goal tallies ticking over, having both netted against Real Madrid at Anfield before the deluge set in.
Predicted Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold; Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Nunez, Jota