With the heaviest title blow that has been felt on Merseyside this season administered by Manchester City at the weekend, Liverpool must now feel in limbo.
They can win their last two games of the season in the same impressive manner that they’ve shown for the majority of it, but they could still end up empty-handed. Steven Gerrard’s slip against Chelsea might be what is being pin-pointed by many as the reason for what is now looking like a failure to win the league, but defensive issues are surely the key factor.
Even when they have been scoring for fun the Reds have been conceding too. It is what has made them so compelling to watch.
Hull, Stoke, Cardiff and Swansea all managed to score three goals against them in a single match this season, but only the Tigers avoided defeat. But then shipping goals isn’t so much of a problem for Liverpool when they routinely bang them in at the other end.
To give themselves any sort of chance of becoming the first team to go from seventh to champions in the Premier League era, the Reds will have to make up a nine-goal deficiency on City. Vastly unlikely, but still something to aim for.
That means they’ll be looking to go on the attack from the off at Selhurst Park, but their problems at the back ensure that the hosts could be in the goals too.
Over 3.5 strikes in the game looks to be your first port of call here at a generous 2.50, with both teams to score also looking good at 1.85.
If you’re ambitious, both teams to score in both halves (something which happened in those aforementioned Stoke, Cardiff and Swansea matches) might tempt those who chase the big prices at 14.00, whilst in a match which could well be end-to-end, the over 11.5 total corners could intrigue at 2.00.
Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis has a fully-fit squad to choose from the final home game of a season in which the Welshman has inspired them to mid-table safety. Kagisho Dikgacoi could return to the starting line-up.
Daniel Sturridge is still suffering from a hamstring problem but could well feature for Liverpool, who are still without Jordan Henderson through suspension. If Sturridge doesn’t make it, then Brendan Rodgers could give Victor Moses or Iago Aspas a start in place of the more defensive Lucas Leiva.
If there are going to be goals then there will need to be players to score them, and whilst the temptation is of course to look at Premier League top scorer and PFA Player of the Year Luis Suarez – 3.45 to score first and 1.73 at any time – there could be value to be found elsewhere.
Ex-Palace winger Moses has barely featured for Liverpool this season, but if Sturridge misses out and Rodgers decides to field a more attacking side then he could play a part here. Check the team news, but then check out his price of 4.40 to score at any time.
For Palace, Glenn Murray could be rewarded for recent effort with a start, and he’s 3.85 to score.
Correct score prediction
Crystal Palace 2 Liverpool 3 – 22.00
Both teams to score – 1.85
Over 3.5 goals – 2.50