LONDON (AFP) – Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe insists the Reds will not be scarred by their recent memories of Selhurst Park when they travel to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fifth round tomorrow (1.30am, BRUNEI TIME)
Brendan Rodgers’ side have endured disastrous results at Palace on their last two visits as they squandered a three-goal lead in the final eleven minutes of the Premier League meeting last May, effectively ending their title hopes, and then delivered a miserable performance in a 3-1 defeat on their return to south London in November.
However, they have been beaten only twice in 21 games since that low point, advancing in the FA Cup and climbing back into the hunt for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
And Pascoe says maintaining their revival will be the focus as Rodgers’ team seeks a first win at Selhurst since 1997 against a team managed by Alan Pardew, who memorably scored Palace’s FA Cup semi-final winner against Liverpool in 1990.
“You never look back, you look forward and be positive,” Pascoe said. “Palace is a tough place to go, we know that, but we go there positive and go there for the win.
“The manager said the result in Novem-ber was a low point in the camp and you look for a reaction off that kind of result.
“We’ve tweaked the system and the group have responded fantastically. The way they’ve come back and played, and the attractive football they’re playing at the moment, from that day it was a great reaction.”
Despite Pascoe’s optimism, Palace midfielder Joe Ledley believes Liverpool’s painful experiences on their last two visits will tilt the tie in Palace’s favour.
“The two games against Liverpool have been fantastic and had a great atmosphere. We can take a lot of confidence from the result this season and, hopefully, we can do the same again,” Ledley said.
“They do not have a great record here but they have got a fantastic team. I watched them against Tottenham and they were fantastic.
“They started the season slowly but they have picked up and it is going to be a difficult game. They are playing some great football so we will need to be on our game.”
Palace have been in outstanding form themselves since Pardew took charge following the dismissal of Neil Warnock earlier this year.
Tuesday’s home draw with Newcastle extended the manager’s record to just one defeat in his first seven games and he should be boosted by the return of defender Scott Dann against Liverpool, who will be without captain Steven Gerrard after he sustained a hamstring injury in their 3-2 win over Tottenham on Tuesday.
England forward Raheem Sterling could return after missing that victory with a foot injury.
Daniel Sturridge may also continue in attack, although Pascoe admits they are still have to nurse the England international, whose start against Spurs was his first since August because of persistent leg muscle injuries, back to full fitness.
Sturridge was withdrawn after 74 minutes against Spurs to be replaced by match winner Mario Balotelli.
And Pascoe added: “He is desperate to play. He didn’t want to come off but we know 60-75 minutes was his maximum that we were going to push him because anything more than that you are over-stepping it and he could pull a muscle.
“The way Daniel is, it’s a progression. We can’t push him too much at the moment. We will monitor him and see how he is and how he is training.
“We don’t want to break him but he is not far off 90 minutes now.
“After the last five months and things that have gone on, we just have to be careful with Daniel at the moment.”