Liverpool host Crystal Palace this weekend, the Reds able to book their place in next season’s Champions League with a win.
Here’s all you need to know about that crucial clash at Anfield.
After a torrid run of form following the turn of the year, particularly at home, Liverpool have found their rhythm at precisely the right moment, the club currently on a run of four successive league wins that has opened the door to what had looked like an unlikely top-four finish.
Having looked dead-certs to miss out on a place in those coveted Champions League spots up until recently, Jurgen Klopp’s side have shown great character to put themselves firmly back in contention, following up their 4-2 win at Old Trafford with a last-gasp triumph against West Brom at the weekend.
With the match level at 1-1 heading into the final minute of stoppage time at the Hawthorns, up stepped goalkeeper Alisson to produce the telling blow, the Brazilian international with an outrageously impressive glancing header to seal a vital win for his side and becoming just the sixth ‘keeper in Premier League history to find the back of the net.
With Chelsea clinching a 2-1 win over Leicester on Tuesday night, Klopp’s men knew a victory the following evening would see them return to the top-four for the first time since February, the Reds ultimately running out 3-0 winners away to Burnley to leapfrog the Foxes into fourth.
That victory saw Nathaniel Phillips net his first goal for the club, as well as produce a colossal defensive display to keep the hosts at bay, meaning his side are now just a win away from a top-four spot, owing to their superior goal difference to Brendan Rodgers side.
Scoring your first goal for #LFC or clearing the ball off the line? 🤔
There was only one answer for tonight's Man of the Match, Nat Phillips! 😂 pic.twitter.com/oSS5GzY18e
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 19, 2021
Ahead of the visit of Palace this weekend – that will see 10,000 supporters return to Anfield – Klopp has hinted that Diogo Jota could make an unlikely return to the squad, having previously looked set to be out for the season.
Crystal Palace: LWLWL
Following months of speculation, Palace boss Roy Hodgson finally announced his decision to step down as manager at the end of the season, the 73-year-old set to call time on an illustrious career in management that began in Sweden back in 1976.
While he’s at times come in for criticism for his pragmatic approach at Selhurst Park during his four-year stint as manager, there’s no doubt he has helped to stabilise the club in the Premier League following the disastrous period under Frank De Boer back in 2017, that looked certain to see the Eagles relegated.
"I shall miss football, there's no question of that."
💔 Roy Hodgson bids an emotional farewell to the Crystal Palace supporters at Selhurst Park… pic.twitter.com/YXVZkQ9Z2l
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 19, 2021
Since then, Hodgson has secured their place as a solid mid-table side, the threat of relegation having seemingly dissipated in recent seasons. That being said, with the former England boss departing and with fifteen first-team players out-of-contract this summer, it could well be a real defining moment for the club ahead of next season.
As for their recent results, Palace came from behind to clinch a thrilling 3-2 win over Aston Villa at the weekend, before suffering a late collapse at home to Arsenal on Wednesday night.
The clash with the Gunners saw Hodgson receive a warm reception from the returning home support prior to kick-off, but despite a spirited display, his side were ultimately undone by two stoppage-time goals as Mikel Arteta’s men kept their slim European hopes alive with a 3-1 victory.
As for the trip to Anfield, Palace will be without highly-rated midfielder Eberechi Eze, the Englishman having picked up an achilles injury that could rule him out until the new year. Forward Christian Benteke will be looking to continue his fine scoring run, the Belgian having netted in four consecutive league games.
Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool, 19 December 2020
Palace fans will be hoping their side can redeem themselves for their dismal performance when the two sides last met, with the Reds dishing out an almighty drubbing at Selhurst Park.
The visitors got off to the best possible start with a goal inside three minutes from Takumi Minamino, before strikes from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino gave Klopp’s men a 3-0 lead at the break.
Jordan Henderson then curled home a stunner just after half-time to make it four, before Firmino added his second of the match with a delightful dink over Vicente Guaita, following an assist from substitute Mo Salah.
The Egypt international had only come on midway through the second-half, yet would end the match with a brace, after netting twice in the space of just three minutes to ensure it was a match to forget for Hodgson’s side.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, R Williams, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Tomkins, Mitchell; Townsend, Kouyate, McCarthy, Schlupp; Zaha, Benteke.
Who is the referee?
What channel is it on?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports.
What time is kick off?
Sunday 23 May, 16:00 BST
Liverpool – 1/6
Crystal Palace – 12/1
Draw – 15/2