Football Expert & Columnist
Last Updated: 23/04/17 3:19pm
Mamadou Sakho's absence could be decisive when Crystal Palace travel to Liverpool for Nissan Super Sunday, says Jamie Redknapp.
Liverpool have had a few titanic battles with Crystal Palace in the last few years. There was that crazy 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park when they threw away the title in 2014, then there was the 3-1 defeat in Steven Gerrard's last game at Anfield.
They are horrible memories for Liverpool and I would definitely say that Palace are a bit of a bogey team. They are physical and they have the pace to unsettle the defence.
But I've been so impressed by Liverpool lately. To go to Stoke and West Brom and win both games showed real character. Liverpool are known as a team who struggle in those games, but they will go into this one with real confidence.
Palace, of course, have shown plenty of improvement themselves. Sam Allardyce has really got them going. They are playing direct to Christian Benteke, with the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Yohan Cabaye in great form too.
Liverpool vs C Palace
April 23, 2017, 4:15pm
But the real star for Big Sam has been Mamadou Sakho. He has transformed that defence, so it's a real blow that he won't be able to play for them against his parent club.
I'm sure Sakho would have loved to play, especially as there's clearly no love lost between him and Jurgen Klopp, but I think his absence could make all the difference in this game.
Liverpool's movement up front will cause problems, and now Palace are in a position where someone who might be lacking that little bit of confidence will have to start in Sakho's place.
I think that's good news for Liverpool, especially given Roberto Firmino's recent form. After his goals against Stoke and West Brom, he will be looking forward to getting at that Palace defence.
I really like him as a player. It took him a little while to get used to English football but he has accepted that this is a tough league and he's got himself physically strong and ready for it. He doesn't get pushed off the ball in one on ones.
He has shown he can play in different positions and his goals and assists have been very important recently. He has been a fantastic signing and I think he'll be even better next year.
If Liverpool can win this game I think they will go on and finish in the top four, then it ends up being a great season for them. It would be a big step forward and it would also help Klopp in terms of attracting players in the summer.
When everybody's fit, Liverpool have a great starting XI. They have proven that against the best sides. But they need to bolster their squad and that's even more important if they are playing in the Champions League next season.
Another centre-back will be a must, and while I expect Trent Alexander-Arnold to play for England in the next few years, they also need more support at full-back and possibly a new goalkeeper too.
But there is a little bit of work to do before that. Right now, they need to focus on getting those three points against Crystal Palace on Sunday.