Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
Venue: Anfield – Saturday, May 16th – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)
Match Odds: Liverpool 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – Crystal Palace 6/1
Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League qualification were effectively ended last week with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in which Gerrard netted the equaliser, becoming the fourth team to take a point away from Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season.
Looking at how Liverpool unexpectedly came agonisingly close to the Premier League title last year, this season they have been way off the pace, as the huge influx of players that have replaced Luis Suarez just haven’t quite hit the ground running.Embed from Getty Images
Results such as the draws at home to teams like Hull City, Leicester City, Sunderland will be seen as points dropped in their bid to ensure Champions League football for a second season running, and Brendan Rodgers will now just want to end the year on a high.
With their last game of the season away at Stoke City next weekend, Liverpool will want to tighten their grip on Europa League football for next season with victory in this one.
Crystal Palace head to Liverpool on the back of four losses. Since their demolition of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, they have failed to pick up a single point and scored just one goal in that torrid run.
Before that it was four consecutive wins for the Eagles with victories coming against the likes of Manchester City at home and Stoke City away.Embed from Getty Images
Crystal Palace’s Premier League status is assured for another year as they enter their third season in the top flight – now the longest time they have stayed in the Premier League.
Alan Pardew deserves terrific credit for his turnaround since his appointment, steering them from danger and into a comfortable position in twelfth.
Away from home under Pardew, Palace have mustered up five wins in the league and will look to make it six at Anfield.Embed from Getty Images
A win for Liverpool will guarantee Liverpool finish in fifth position for the season, while a Palace win will see them match their points tally from last year with 45.
The reverse fixture saw Crystal Palace defeat Liverpool 3-1 in what was Neil Warnock’s last win as Crystal Palace manager before his sacking just after Christmas.
Liverpool will definitely be without Daniel Sturridge who has been ruled out until September with a hip injury plus Jon Flanagan will be out until October. Mamadou Sakho will have a late fitness test on his hamstring injury. Steven Gerrard will start in midfield alongside Jordan Henderson, with Rickie Lambert likely to be dropped back to the bench.
Crystal Palace will be continue to be without Jerome Thomas who has no return date, while Jonathan Williams is also out. Jason Puncheon only made the bench last week but should start here.
Liverpool’s last five: W/D/L/W/D
Crystal Palace’s last five: W/L/L/L/L
Key Stat: Steven Gerrard has registered 92 assists in the Premier League, 51 of them coming at Anfield.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Steven Gerrard – The Liverpool captain will want to leave Anfield on a high, although he has never scored against Crystal Palace in the Premier League and will look to change that in his final home game.
Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace – Gerrard is really going to rally his troops to get a win in his final home game and the club’s final home game of the season in what will be an tear-jerking day for Gerrard. One lesson we have learned from Gerrard’s 17 year stay at Liverpool is neither Liverpool or Steven Gerrard will walk alone.