Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Live on Sky Sports 1
Live on Sky Sports 1
It could be a nervy end to the season for Liverpool. With both Manchester clubs set to play games in hand - City one, United two - Jurgen Klopp's charges will be looking over their shoulders, hoping that the points they have on the board help them seal a much-desired top four spot come the end of the campaign. It could be a close-run thing.
The good news is that the fixture list favours the Reds. Three of their remaining five matches are at Anfield and the two away trips, to Watford and West Ham, should not hold a great deal of fear. In fact, Sunday's match against Crystal Palace could well be their biggest remaining test. A win here would make their Champions League even more vivid.
Klopp could have something of a defensive injury crisis on his hands, with Joel Matip, Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan all doubtful for this one. If all fail to make it, Dejan Lovren's partner at the back could be forgotten man Joe Gomez, who, according to Klopp has "made big steps" after injury. That, though, would hardly be an ideal solution against a buoyant attack, and the continued absence of Adam Lallana, Sadio Mané and Jordan Henderson means options at the other end of the pitch are limited.
Not so long ago, Crystal Palace would have drifted helplessly towards defeat after going two goals down - think of the 4-0 reversal to Sunderland, the low ebb of their season. But the Eagles have toughened up in recent weeks and demonstrated their fighting spirit last weekend with a stirring comeback against Leicester City.
That draw means Palace have now claimed 16 points from the last 21 available, soaring above the relegation zone in the process. They may not be safe mathematically speaking, but with the wind in their sails they should enjoy a fairly scare-free finale to the campaign.
Mamadou Sakho is unable to play against his parent club, but that should be offset by the return to fitness of Patrick van Aanholt, who had a run-out off the bench against Leicester, and James Tomkins. James McArthur is also back, but unlikely to oust Yohan Cabaye in midfield.
Palace have won on their last two visits to Anfield and undoubtedly have some momentum going into this game. There could be some appeal in a price of 7.20 in the away win.
Against that, it's worth considering Liverpool's excellent recent home record: they have lost just one of their last 24 Premier League games on their own patch, winning 15. It's also been a difficult hunting ground for Sam Allardyce. The Palace boss has never won a Premier League game at Anfield in 13 attempts.
1.52 is available on the home win, with the draw at 4.80, but we'll be looking elsewhere for value.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Liverpool have tended to be an overs team at Anfield: 69% of their home matches in the league have produced three goals or more, including their last four. Palace games have been less predictable, but with defensive absences on both sides, the overs is probably the pick at 1.67.
A more attractive proposition, though, is both teams to score. Liverpool have kept just four clean sheets at Anfield this term, three of which have come in attritional matches against other members of the top five. A both teams to score bet would have paid out in 75% of their home matches and in 62% of Palace's away games, so odds of 1.85 stand out.
Roberto Firmino is the man in form for Liverpool. His strike against West Brom took him to 11 goals for the season and he enjoys playing Palace: he's scored in the last two Premier League meetings between the teams. He is 2.26 to notch.
For Palace, Christian Benteke is the pick at 3.10. He is thriving on the fine service provided by Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, and will still feel he has a point to prove to Liverpool.
Andre Marriner is the man in the middle for this one. He produced his second red card of the season last weekend, dismissing West Ham's Sam Byram in injury time against Sunderland. The first was for Hull's Ahmed El Mohamady in a commanding Liverpool win in September.
Back both teams to score (2pts) at 1.85
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