A missed penalty, a woodwork hit and plenty of VAR controversy – Palace’s showdown with Brighton typified a proper Premier League derby. However, Patrick Vieira may be counting his lucky stars that his side travelled back from the Amex with a point to their name. With Jack Butland saving a tame penalty from Pascal Gross and Neal Maupay having a goal ruled out for a foul on the ‘keeper, Palace took the lead against the run of play courtesy of usual suspect Conor Gallagher before Joachim Andersen turned into his own net with three minutes remaining.
Palace’s search for a first Premier League win of 2022 goes on, but Vieira’s side are sitting comfortably in 11th position before the weekend’s fixtures kick off, with 10th-placed Leicester City one point clear having played two games fewer. For all of the attacking talent at Vieira’s disposal, a paltry tally of two wins from their last 10 in the Premier League represents that of a side still with great strides to make if they are to establish themselves as a top-half outfit, but home is where the heart is for the Eagles.
Indeed, Vieira’s side have only lost two of their 11 top-flight games at Selhurst Park this season and have scored at least two goals in each of their last four on home soil, but Liverpool certainly have fond memories of playing at this ground. Any fears of Liverpool producing an equally woeful attacking performance in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final with Arsenal were quickly extinguished on Thursday, as Diogo Jota lit up the Emirates to propel the Reds into next month’s final.
The Portuguese spun Takehiro Tomiyasu before seeing his scuffed effort put Liverpool in the ascendancy before the half-time whistle, and he proceeded to double his side’s tally with a delightful dink over the onrushing Aaron Ramsdale – initially chalked off for offside before a VAR review – with Jurgen Klopp’s men now preparing for a shot at glory versus Chelsea. The Anfield faithful will certainly welcome that opportunity for silverware as the Premier League title slips further and further away from them, with Klopp’s side currently 11 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand after putting three unanswered goals past Brentford last Sunday.
Three consecutive clean sheets across all competitions certainly serves as reason for optimism for this Liverpool side, who will be determined to end their three-game winless run away from home in the Premier League at a stadium which was certainly kind to them last year. Roy Hodgson was forced to witness his Crystal Palace side succumb to a humiliating 7-0 defeat in this fixture last season, which marked Liverpool’s ninth Premier League win on the bounce versus the Eagles, and their sixth in succession away from home.
Palace trio Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate have been busy at the Africa Cup of Nations in recent weeks, but Ayew may be in with a chance of returning following Ghana’s early elimination. Vieira has supposedly given Ayew his blessing to take more time off before returning to domestic action, so Michael Olise will expect another start up top as Christian Benteke also pushes for inclusion against his old club.
James Tomkins and James McArthur remain in the treatment room for the Eagles, as Butland prepares to hold his place in between the sticks over Vicente Guaita. As for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita remain away on AFCON duty, but there is optimism over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s possible return from an ankle issue sustained against Brentford.
However, Thiago Alcantara, Nat Phillips, Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott – the latter of whom is now back in full training – remain absent for the time being, as Klopp sticks with largely the same formula from the Emirates win. Kaide Gordon spurned a gilt-edged chance to score against Arsenal in midweek, so the 17-year-old may drop out for the more experienced Takumi Minamino here, and Ibrahima Konate may be considered for a start after Joel Matip looked off the pace in midweek.
NAME: Crystal Palace – Liverpool
DATE: 23 Jan 2022
TIME: 14:00 UTC
VENUE: Selhurst Park, London, England