Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Crystal Palace V Liverpool
Saturday 14th February. 5:30PM. BT Sport 1
The FA Cup is back and the early exits of Chelsea and Manchester City has already blown the competition wide open. With a place in the last eight up for grabs, the winner of this all-Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Liverpool will definitely fancy their chances of lifting the trophy on May 30th at Wembley.
Both clubs have enjoyed past successes in this competition and their recent head-to-head meetings suggest that we could be in for an interesting affair. We’re certainly anticipating a passionate contest between this Premier League rivals.
Eagles Hoping To Soar Through To Quarter-Final
Selhurst Park was famously the stage for Liverpool’s late collapse in last year’s fascinating Premier League title-race and Crystal Palace will be hoping to break their hearts once more by ending their best chance of a trophy in 2014/15.
The Eagles will be confident too following their 3-1 league win over the Reds earlier this season. That victory also came before new boss Alan Pardew galvanized the club, to there are plenty of reasons for the hosts to be optimistic heading into this clash – especially if Steven Gerrard is kept out thanks to a minor injury sustained in midweek.
Coincidentally, it was Pardew’s extra-time header against Liverpool that sent Palace to their only ever FA Cup final. His history against the Reds isn’t limited to his playing days either as his West Ham side lost out to the Merseysiders in the memorable final of 2006. The new Eagles boss would simply love a win here.
Palace have seen vast improvements since Pardew’s arrival and will be eager to make that Selhrust Park roar count against their illustrious opponents. The one thing we can be sure of is that they will fight for every last ball.
Liverpool Can Save Season With FA Cup Title
Brendan Rodgers hasn’t enjoyed the best of times against Palace over the past 12 months but the Reds can draw a line under that by booking their place in the last eight here. Confidence will be particularly high after losing just once in their past 15 competitive fixtures, but the visitors must be prepared for an intense battle.
The absence of their leader will naturally be a huge blow but they must not let that affect their performance or else they will be punished by a home side that has been creating ample chances in recent matches.
A key bonus for Liverpool is that Daniel Sturridge has had a few games to get back into the swing of things and this could be the game where he proves himself ready to step up as the main man at Anfield. However, Rodgers will be equally thrilled to have seen Mario Balotelli end his drought in midweek and the presence of those two strikers could be an essential component if they are to progress.
A replay wouldn’t be the worst case scenario for Liverpool as they’d fancy their chances at home. However, their commitments to league and European competition means that they’d rather not have the extra game and will therefore want to win in 90 minutes.
With both teams gunning for the win, we could be in for another thrilling spectacle at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace V Liverpool Betting
Bookmakers Bet365 have installed Liverpool as the favourites but at 21/20 they clearly don’t believe it will be easy for the visitors. It is quite possible that a replay will be needed to settle this one so 5/2 on the draw could be good value, whilst a Crystal Palace win is also a very real possibility at 13/5.
Make no mistake; the pressure is on Rodgers. Assuming the Reds fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, a trophy is the only way this season can be deemed a success. That could work in one of two ways for the Reds.
Unfortunately, without Gerrard in the team, it is quite conceivable that Liverpool will stumble against Palace once more. The defence will be particularly vulnerable without that guard and the Eagles, who have hit three in each of the past two head-to-head meetings, will be looking to take advantage.
Over 1.5 Crystal Palace goals is 9/4 with Coral
Even if Liverpool do turn up and win, there is every chance that Pardew’s men will at least score – as they have in six of their seven matches under his management.
A big cup goal would really help win the fans over and Yaya Sanogo must be looking to use this game as a springboard to launch his career in English football. At 10/3, we think the Arsenal loanee is great value for a goal.
Yaya Sanogo to score anytime is 10/3 with Ladbrokes