Liverpool FC is one of the three Premier League biggies who survived the FA Cup fourth round fixtures as they overcame Bolton Wanderers in the second leg at the Macron Stadium courtesy of two late goals from Phillip Coutinho and Raheem Sterling. The first leg ended in a goalless draw at Anfield in a weekend, which saw only Manchester United and Arsenal apart from the Reds to make it to the next round while league leaders Chelsea, defending Premier League Champions Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and this year’s surprise package Southampton were knocked out by relatively weaker teams.
Now the action shifts towards the fifth round ties and the Reds are all set to face Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace at the Selhurst Park. The Reds are facing several injury concerns as they are struggling to get their playing XI in place ahead of the clash. To begin with, Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard, who is set to be out for 2-3 weeks due to a hamstring injury is out of the clash and his deputy Jordon Henderson is all set to lead them into the game.
Gerrard’s midfield counterpart Lucas Leiva too will miss up to 6 weeks as he is recovering from the thigh injury he aggregated recently. The huge loss for the Reds will be the absence of English winger Raheem Sterling, who is nursing a foot injury and youngster Jordon Ibe is ruled out of the FA Cup because he is cup-tied. With these concerns, manager Brendan Rodgers will have a huge task in fielding the best playing XI. It is obvious that Joe Allen will play alongside Jordon Henderson in the central midfield with Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic plays on the wings.
Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel and Emre Can have established a good partnership under Rodgers’ 3-4-3 system that is being used in the recent weeks. Dejan Lovren might play in the backline and Emre Can will be alongside Henderson if Rodgers decides to tinker his system, which seems very unlikely. Man-in-form Phillip Coutinho along with Adam Lallana will take care of the wings with English striker Daniel Sturridge taking his position as the forward. Sturridge has been impressive ever since he returned and he is all set to get the nod ahead of Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who scored his first Premier League for the club in the midweek clash against Tottenham.
Possible Playing XI: Simon Mignolet; Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Emre Can; Alberto Moreno, Jordon Henderson, Joe Allen, Lazar Markovic; Phillip Coutinho, Daniel Sturride and Adam Lallana.