Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool kept the momentum going with a 1-0 victory over Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday. Although the Reds won the game with a slim margin, Klopp’s boys dominated the game and looked like they have regained confidence now.
Now Liverpool turn focus to the Premier League game against Crystal Palace. Having travelled to Russia on Thursday, Alan Pardew’s men could take advantage of fatigue on the Reds’ part to inflict defeat on them.
Nevertheless, we have selected what we think will be Liverpool’s strongest line-up against the Eagles;
Simon Mignolet: The Reds’ first-choice goalie will relish the chance of facing Palace’s main striker Dwight Gayle, who has not scored a single goal this year. However, Yohan Cabaye has bagged 4 goals from midfield so far this season, so Mignolet will have to be at his best for the entire game – with Palace’s duo of Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha in good form at the moment.
Although Nathaniel Clyne played the full match for Liverpool on Thursday and could do with a rest. But it is unlikely Klopp will want to field the young Connor Randall in a league match, hence, Clyne will be handed the task of nullifying the threat of Bolasie. Considering the young Englishman’s form so far this season, it remains to be see how well he copes against the Congolese.
Only Martin Skrtel, Clyne and Mignolet have played every single minute for Liverpool in the Premier League this term, but the Slovakian was given a much needed rest on Thursday. However, Mamadou Sakho had another brilliant performance against Rubin Kazan on Thursday and should be the first name on the list for the Palace game.
Both Skrtel and Sakho should have a swell time with Gayle considering how woeful Gayle has been this season so far but at the same time must be on the alert as Palace are a very good counter attacking side.
Alberto Moreno also played the full match against Rubin Kazan as lack of options on the left side of defence has given Klopp with no further option than field the Spaniard in almost all games. He has shown massive improvement under Klopp and will have to put in a great performance against the tricky Zaha on Sunday.
Klopp made a brilliant decision by resting Lucas Leiva against Rubin, as he will have a lot to do on Saturday as regards marking out the Eagles midfielders. If the Brazilian gets his injury problems behind him, he could be part of the Liverpool set-up for years. Alongside Lucas is Emre Can whose physical presence will help the Reds, but he has to be carefully with the timing of his tackles or he may cost Liverpool the game.
Although Jordan Ibe bagged the goal that helped Liverpool seal victory against Rubin Kazan on Thursday, the trio of Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho should all start on Sunday. They have played more minutes together and are more hard-working than Ibe.
Palace’s defensive record this term means Liverpool have to be at their best creatively and Coutinho, particularly, will have to be at his best after not featuring at all on Thursday.
Belgian powerhouse Christian Benteke started and completed the full 90 minutes on Thursday so he may not be at his best against the Eagles on Sunday, but playing Divock Origi will be even a worse idea.
Benteke is a much more effective forward and will have to win his battles with Scott Dann and Damien Delaney and if the former Aston Villa striker does, Liverpool could secure a victory.