Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace: 5 key players to watch in the final match

Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Liverpool, Sadio Mane
Liverpool, Sadio Mane (Photo by PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

CB Nat Phillips

Just as Trent Alexander-Arnold deserves high praise for his work on both ends of the pitch in recent weeks, so, too, does Nathaniel Phillips at the heart of this makeshift Liverpool defense. The Reds needed Phillips to step up when Ozan Kabak went down with an injury, and the 24-year-old center back more than did his part against Burnley.

After a solid display in the win over West Brom, Phillips had the game of his life at Turf Moor. Not only did he score his first goal off a great Sadio Mane cross, but he also saved a goal. Phillips was composed and authoritative throughout the match, dominating Chris Wood in the air in what was a critical matchup heading into Wednesday night.

The young center back should have a big say on this fixture against Crystal Palace, and he will be riding high on confidence after that Man of the Match-quality effort at Burnley.

LW Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane is a regular target for criticism, and while he is not having his best season at all, the experienced forward is sometimes criticized a little too harshly. For example, some fans have said he was poor against Burnley, but he was honestly decent. Mane did squander a couple of chances and didn’t make the consistent impact we are used to seeing from him in years past, but if we judge him by the standards of any player, he contributed positively to Liverpool’s attack, as exemplified by his quality assist.

At home against Crystal Palace, Mane can feed off the energy of the Kop and perform at a higher level. The Eagles don’t have a particularly good defense, so Mane should be able to give Joel Ward and James Tomkins real trouble on Palace’s right-hand side.