Liverpool – Crystal Palace will be a tense encounter on Sunday at Anfield (start time 11am ET on NBC and online via Peacock Premium), as Jurgen Klopp’s side need a win on the final day of the season to pretty much secure a top four spot, as they battle with Chelsea and Leicester for Champions League qualification.
Liverpool have gone on a fine unbeaten run across their last nine games and after their impressive 3-0 win at Burnley in midweek, Jurgen Klopp told ProSoccerTalk he “never expected” his injury-hit side to be in this situation on the final day of the season. Now, as long as they win and Leicester City don’t beat Tottenham heavily and swing the goal difference in their favor by five goals on the final day, Liverpool will be in the Champions League next season. With 10,000 fans back at Anfield, that will also be huge in pushing them over the line.
After big injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, plus many, many others throughout the season, finishing in the top four would be a huge achievement for the 2019-20 champions. It would be right up there with Klopp’s best, but the job isn’t done and his makeshift defense is still showing a few shaky signs in each game. Still, when Alisson is coming up for a corner and scoring a late winner like he did at West Brom last week, it seems like destiny is in Liverpool’s favor to finish in the top four.
Crystal Palace can play the role of party pooper as Roy Hodgson aims to sign off his time in charge of his boyhood club in style. There is the slight whiff of an upset in the air as Palace have pulled off a few shocks at Anfield in recent years, with Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha playing leading roles. Palace are about to enter a new era as Hodgson is leaving after a solid four years in charge, while up to 12 players look set to leave the club this summer when their contracts end. Chairman Steve Parish has a big decision to make about who their next manager will be. Injuries have not been kind to the Eagles this season, but they’ve been safe in midtable throughout.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool – Crystal Palace.
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Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Ozan Kabak, Naby Keita Ben Davies. Diogo Jota and Jordan Henderson are surprise inclusions on the bench.
⭐️ TEAM NEWS ⭐️
Our final line-up of the ‘20/21 season 🔴
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 23, 2021
Crystal Palace injuries
Crystal Palace are without Christian Benteke and Luka Milivojevic, while James McCarthy, Connor Wickham, Nathan Ferguson, Mamadou Sakho, Scott Dann and Eberechi Eze are all out
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) May 23, 2021
What they’re saying…
Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s injuries all season long: “As good as they are, if City have their three centre-halves out, no [they don’t win the league]. Three centre-halves of United, no. For the whole season pretty much too, that is how it is. We have fought back a bit, accepted the difficulties and made the best of it, and if we win on Sunday, and if we qualify for the Champions League, then we made the best of it. That is it.”
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Liverpool are hugeeee favorites at -667, with Crystal Palace massive outsiders at +1400. The draw is is +700.
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Liverpool have to win this and you get the sense they are back to their very best. Defensively they are getting better and their forwards have regained their form. This will be tight and Palace are dangerous on the break, but Klopp will be smiling at the Kop at the final whistle. Liverpool 2-1 Crystal Palace.