The Premier league penultimate matches kick off this weekend with teams desperate for points down towards the foot of the table. Meanwhile Liverpool gears up to give Steven Gerrard a hero’s send off at Anfield as he plays his last game for the club that he has served with such distinction since making his debut in 1998.Check out the fixtures that have made our preview this week.
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Anfield will be an emotional place on Saturday as talismanic club captain and club icon Steven Gerrard pulls on the famous Liverpool red for the very last time as a player after a sensational career spanning 17 years. If they get caught up in the emotion they might slip up but it seems unlikely.
Gerrard being an ultimate professional will want to go out on a high note and his players will have a cause to play for as they are guaranteed a fifth place finish anyway.
Alan Pardew brought a surge of optimism to Selhurst Park which saw Palace shoot up the League table. He has done a very good job since taking over at Crystal Palace. However the Pardew effect is well and truly over. The Eagles have lost their last 4 games on the bounce and have only managed to score once in those four matches.
They will have been delighted to finish in a comfortable mid-table position in the Premier League this season and have little incentive to throw a spanner in the works at what will be a momentous landmark occasion at Anfield.
Tottenham v Hull
Hull City simply need to take all three points from their trip to White Hart Lane this Saturday. They are two points adrift of safety with two matches remaining and play Manchester United in their last game.
Midfielder Jake Livermore was suspended from the club after testing positive for cocaine after the last match. That is surely an unwelcome distraction for Steve Bruce and his squad going into this crucial clash. A 1-0 loss to Burnley was a really poor result and has convinced many to consign Hull to relegation already. However they may well just be fighting like Tigers against a Spurs team who may be more worried about where they are going to be plying their trade next season.
Tottenham boss Pochettino has stated that none of his playing staff are guaranteed to be in his plans for next season. His bold statement of intent may be in order to get his players playing well; a good few may be playing for their futures at Spurs. However many of the players have little loyalty to Spurs and will likely be able to find a new club elsewhere so his threat may not carry the weight intended.
The incentive lies with Hull; it’s a do or die fixture. But then again, it was ‘do or die’ against Burnley and they failed. Surely though there is a final twist left in the Premier League relegation story though?
QPR v Newcastle
QPR were relegated from the Premier League with a woeful showing at Manchester City last time out. There will likely be a mass exodus of players as the QPR hierarchy look to rebuild for life in the ultra-competitive Championship next season. The players didn’t show any fight when it really counted so their looks little chance of them showing any now after their fate is already sealed.
Newcastle have been in terrible form of late having lost 8 of their last 9 games and the fans enraged with the current state of affairs at the club. However in their last match the players finally showed some fight that manager John Carver had been calling for in a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Newcastle are just 2 points clear of the relegation zone and although they have on paper an easier run in than some of the other teams around them they will be desperate to gain points here at Loftus Road.