Liverpool welcome Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday afternoon as they look to book a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Champions League qualification is now Liverpool’s to lose as they finish their English Premier League season at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Reds have scrambled their way back into the top four in the nick of time, summoning a depleted squad to piece together a sturdy run of form at the business end of the season. It had been threatening to unravel completely for Liverpool as they tumbled from the top spot at the turn of the year down into the midtable morass.
But they’ve gone nine matches unbeaten since early March, winning seven of them, to put themselves in prime position to salvage their seat at continental football’s top table. The math is simple: a win for Jurgen Klopp’s men will guarantee them a top-four finish even if Chelsea and Leicester City, both, end up clinch three points, barring an unlikely event of the Foxes beating Tottenham Hotspur by more than five goals of Liverpool beating Palace.
The massed ranks of the injured include the regular faces of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Jordan Henderson. Naby Keita won’t make it either, with on-loan defender Ozan Kabak in the same boat.
Alisson Becker will operate in between the sticks for the Reds after securing a well-deserved clean sheet versus Burnley in the midweek round of fixtures. Rhys Williams will continue to feature alongside Nathaniel Phillips at the heart of the Liverpool backline as they try to keep Crystal Palace’s attack quiet during the 90 minutes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will be a nailed-on starter at right-back while Andrew Robertson looks to impress on the other side as the left-back. Klopp will ask both of them to be a bit more adventurous than usual so that they can create some clear-cut chances from the wide areas.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho, and Thiago Alcantara could once again make up the Reds midfield as they focus on controlling possession and dictating the flow of the game at the center of the park so that they can orchestrate some meaningful openings in the attacking third.
Sadio Mane will get the nod to produce a productive performance from the left flank while Mohamed Salah looks to weave his magic from the right. The Egyptian winger is currently leading the Premier League’s golden-boot race along with Harry Kane, so he will be desperate to find the back of the net and pip the Spurs superstar to the award this weekend.
Roberto Firmino opened the goal-scoring against the Clarets in midweek. Hence, the Brazilian striker will be in high spirits when he laces up to lead the line for Liverpool down the middle.