Crystal Palace-Liverpool Preview: Reds out to banish Selhurst Park demons

Brendan Rodgers’s side let a 3-0 lead slip in this fixture last season, damaging their title aspirations, and are without Daniel Sturridge for Sunday’s clash with the Eagles

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side did not lose the title at Selhurst Park last season as they prepare to face their Crystal Palace demons on Sunday.

In one of the most memorable games of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign, Liverpool surrendered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 in London in May – a result that all but extinguished their title dreams.

That draw followed a 2-0 home loss to Chelsea but Rodgers, whose team have fallen well short of last season’s excellent form so far this term, downplayed the importance of that six-goal thriller.

“That wasn’t the game that cost us,” the Liverpool manager said on Friday. “Maybe the excitement to claw back the goal difference [on eventual champions Manchester City] overtook us.

“The damage was always done in the Chelsea game. That was the one that changed it for us. But on reflection I was extremely proud.”

Liverpool are enduring a very different type of season this time around and head into the weekend on a three-game winless run that has left them in the bottom half of the table.

Rodgers’ life has been made all the more difficult by the continued absence of striker Daniel Sturridge, who suffered another setback during the international break, re-injuring his left thigh.

New signings Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert have failed to fire in Sturridge’s stead, and the Italian faces a late fitness test after picking up a hamstring injury while away with his country.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson has a similar problem but should be fit to feature this weekend as the visitors go in search of just their fifth top-flight win of the season.

If Liverpool have cause to wince in recalling last season’s meeting, then Palace can take inspiration from it.

The battling point highlighted Palace’s remarkable revival under Tony Pulis but, now under the guidance of Neil Warnock, they look to have another battle against relegation on their hands.

A run of five games without a win has left Palace languishing at the wrong end of the table, but Warnock wants his side to take heart from the narrow 1-0 loss to Manchester United last time out.

He said: “Our defence will have to put in another convincing display like they did at Manchester United, that is vital – but we also need to create a bit more ourselves, it is all about finding that happy medium.”

Warnock ruled Kevin Doyle out with a groin injury but is hopeful that James McArthur will overcome a calf problem in time.

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