LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard is set to start Saturday’s battle against league leader Chelsea after beginning on the substitutes’ bench against Real Madrid in their Champions League.

Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli could also earn recalls, but Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined.

And for the Blues, striker Diego Costa will start for despite being left out of the Spain squad to recover from his persistent hamstring trouble. Also, Loic Remy, John Obi Mikel and Cesar Azpilicueta will feature in this crucial game.


But Manchester United must make do without five defenders as Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Rafael are all injured and Chris Smalling is banned.

Midfielders Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia are likely to deputise in defence, while forward Radamel Falcao remains sidelined. United loanee Wilfried Zaha is ineligible against his parent club.

Palace are without suspended captain Mile Jedinak, who was sent off in Monday’s defeat against Sunderland.

Joey Barton and Nedum Onuoha could both return for QPR against their former club Manchester City after recovering from hamstring injuries.

Midfielder Jordon Mutch is also fit again, but Rio Ferdinand will complete a two-match ban.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has been ruled out with a calf injury suffered in the defeat by CSKA Moscow.

Frank Lampard has recovered from a thigh problem but David Silva and Aleksandar Kolarov are out.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has no fresh injury worries ahead of his side’s clash with Leicester.

Striker Sadio Mane was only fit enough to start on the bench in the victory over Hull but he could replace Shane Long in the starting line up.

Leicester’s leading scoring Leonardo Ulloa had a minor groin injury last week and only featured as a substitute but is expected to start today.

Matthew Upson has returned to training after recovering from a foot problem.

Remy and Mikel have overcome respective groin and knee injuries for today’s battle of Anfield, while Azpilicueta is available after completing a three-match ban.

Last season, this was the fixture, which cost Liverpool the title. The knockout blow may have come at Selhurst Park, but defeat to Chelsea was the pivotal game.

If Liverpool had even drawn with Chelsea back in April, they could have shut up shop at Palace, when 3-0 ahead and had the title in their grasp. The defeat at Anfield left Liverpool with a goal difference deficit to make up on Manchester City and so left them vulnerable to the Palace comeback.

Reds boss Rodgers wasn’t the only one resting players in midweek though. Chelsea should have won in Slovenia against Maribor, but Mourinho will be infuriated not only that they drew, but that he had to bring on Diego Costa and Oscar at half-time to inject some creativity into a limp performance.

So can Liverpool gain some sort of revenge? A big question waiting for Rodgers and his players.



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