With Manchester City defeating Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park, Man City not only pulled level on points with Liverpool at the top but they extended their goal difference advantage to 9 and look set to reclaim their Premier League title.
Liverpool will be expected to win today at Selhurst Park but due to the staunch defence of Tony Pulis' men, the margin of victory is expected to be slender. The most Palace have conceded under Tony Pulis was 3 against Newcastle, furthermore they have only conceded 22 goals since he took over on 23rd November. By comparison, Liverpool have conceded 38 goals in the same period, highlighting just how effective Palace are at keeping their opponents at bay.
Nonetheless, they are a few things Liverpool can take solace from:
1) The first is that Palace are slow starters under Tony Pulis. In seven of their matches under Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace have conceded the first goal in the first half of the match.
2) In those matches Palace conceded 10 goals and have yet to record a win; losing 5 and drawing only two.
3) Much has been made of the frantic pace Liverpool start matches in and they can take advantage of Palace's weaknesses by knocking in a few goals before the break. Doing so will destabilise Palace and will give Liverpool all the momentum they need for a grandstand finish to the end of the match.
4) Liverpool have history in this regard, on the 12th September 1989, Liverpool knocked 9 past Crystal Palace without reply. Three of their goals came before the break and it set them up nicely to destroy Palace in the second half.
5) Crystal Palace do not have much to play considering they have secured safety. Against City they were more open than they usually are and that should bode well for Liverpool.
It is easily argued that all Liverpool need to worry about is winning and that having a cavalier approach to attacking could lead complacency, ensuring Liverpool drop points they needn't have dropped if they went about their way professionally.
However, when Manchester United lost the title by a goal difference of eight goals two seasons ago, I am sure their fans wished they had set out to thrash their opponents.
The matter of the fact is Liverpool are no longer in the driving seat, they have to take risks and apply pressure to Manchester City. Imagine a scenario where Liverpool are equal on goal difference to Manchester City going into the last day of the season, and Man City realise they have to put a few past counter attacking Aston Villa and a resolute West Ham packed full of ex-Liverpool players, whilst Liverpool have a seemingly easy home tie against Newcastle who have conceded the 4th most in the league with 57. In such a case it is very plausible to see a Man City side that have had their character questioned for many years cracking once again.