With nearly every aspect of note in The Premier League wrapped up already our thoughts turn to Anfield where the late kick-off sees Liverpool host Crystal Palace wherein Steven Gerrard will wave goodbye to Anfield after a 17 year career at his boyhood club. Elsewhere Sunderland host Leicester City in a vital relegation clash at the bottom of the table.
Gerrard to Wave Goodbye to Anfield:
After 17 years and over 700 appearances Saturday marks Steven Gerrard’s last match at Anfield and his penultimate game for Liverpool. The Reds’ skipper will move to Los Angeles to play for LA Galaxy following the culmination for the Premier League next week, with tomorrow’s clash posing the most peculiar of bittersweet moments for Liverpool fans worldwide.
Gerrard has scored two headers in two weeks – winning one for the Liverpool and salvaging a draw in the other. Having scored 119 Premier League goals to date it seems pertinent that Gerrard will leave Liverpool on some sort of high, following the desolate 12 month’s he’s had since ‘the slip’.
Indeed, Gerrard spoke yesterday spoke about the possibility of returning to Liverpool in the future, though in what capacity remains to be seen. Brendan Rodgers yesterday admitted there is a possibility of a loan return to Liverpool when the MLS season finishes.
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“We haven’t spoken about it. We will see how it pans out,” he said. “Steven has always made it clear in our talks that he would look to help the club in any capacity he can.
“If we feel that could be from a playing perspective it’s something we will look at another time.” Rodgers went on: “Our focus has been on finishing this season as strong as we can. He never has a lazy day. His mind never wanders far from performing well every single day.”
Mackems Look For More Luck As The Fight For Survival:
Following the lucky 2-0 win at Goodison Park last weekend Sunderland go into this weekend’s tie at home to Leicester City knowing failing to win will put their hopes of Premier League survival under massive risk. Following Saturday’s game against the Foxes, Sunderland end the season with games away to Arsenal and Chelsea. Sunderland currently sit in 16th place in the table on 36 points. The Mackems can take solace knowing Hull would likely require at least a win in either of their games against Spurs or Manchester United.
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Before the game Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat spoke of the need for the fans to back their team ahead of the game, creating an intimidating atmosphere for Leicester City: “Both home and away the supporters have been really good and they’ve stood behind the team, but on Saturday they have to give everything.
“It gives every player extra energy when they hear the noise of the crowd and we need to make it [the atmosphere] special in this game.”
He added: “We have to give more than 100% to get the result and there is only one result we need – three points,” said Advocaat.
Hull Look to Take Advantage of Spurs Malaise:
As previously mentioned, Hull City take on Spurs this Saturday looking to escape from relegation to The Championship for the second time since 2010. Indeed, manager Steve Bruce has been unable to steer the Tigers to another comfortable season, with Hull now needing what looks like at least a win from their next two games against Spurs and Manchester United.
Hull ended last season in 16th place, just four points from safety, but qualified for the Europa League for reaching the FA Cup final, despite losing against Arsenal. Ahead of the game Hull couldn’t have been hit with a bigger blow, as reports come out that their midfielder Jake Livermore was tested positive for Cocaine and will miss the rest of the season, ahead of a ban.
Meanwhile Steve Bruce spoke frankly ahead of the game and of Hull’s chances of survival: “There are no more second chances. This is it. We need to take it to the last game of the season,” said Bruce.
The Hull boss said his side had experienced “second-season syndrome” after finishing 16th last year and reaching the FA Cup final.
“We were Burnley last season. No-one gave us a cat in hell’s chance of surviving.” – Steve Bruce
“We were Burnley last season. No-one gave us a cat in hell’s chance of surviving. This year there has been a bit of expectation and, if we’re being perfectly honest, we haven’t been able to live up to it so far,” he added.
“Let’s hope we can keep the thing alive, move forward and still be a Premier League team. I am quietly confident that we will produce the performance that, hopefully, will get us the result,” said the Hull boss.
Hull finish the season at home to Manchester United on Sunday 24 May.