This weekend sees the return of the FA Cup as the Fifth Round matches take place, and our latest JD Football Away Day profile looks at one of those ties. Saturday evening is Liverpool’s visit to bogey team Crystal Palace as they hope to continue their cup run all the way to the Final for what would be captain Steven Gerrard’s final match for The Reds.
By Car: Clocking in at over 5 hours, it’s just as well the match is a late kick-off on Saturday so Liverpool fans don’t have to get up as early as usual for such a trip. Drivers will leave Liverpool from Broad Green via the M62 past Warrington, where it’s then a right turn to the M6 southbound. Reds fans will follow this until near Shareshill, where it’s a ride through the M6 Toll and onto the M42 around Birmingham. Once past Solihull and Cheswich Heath, it’s a turn onto the M40, which is followed south all the way through to Uxbridge, where it becomes the A40, and continuing on until White City, where the drivers then move south to cross the River Thames using Battersea Bridge. Once south of the Thames, it’s through Clapham Common towards Tulse Hill, where it’s a turn to go through West Norwood and Beulah Hill to South Norwood Hill. It’s advised to park in one of the residential turnings of South Norwood Hill or Whitehorse Lane, as there won’t be ample parking any closer to Selhurst Park stadium.
By Rail: There are three stations close to Selhurst Park, but we’ll suggest routes to Norwood Junction as this is closest to the most well known away pubs. Trains from Liverpool Lime Street serve London Euston, which takes over two hours, then it’s a Northern line tube ride (via King’s Cross) southbound to London Bridge. From there, it’s a 15-minute or so mainline train to Norwood Junction station, which is just off South Norwood High Street. The Wetherspoon’s on the High Street is very away fan friendly, although if you don’t have colours you should be ok getting into the Cherry Tree pub immediately outside Norwood Junction.
Last Time Out: It was only in late November that Liverpool last visited Selhurst Park, a match that didn’t end well for them. Brendan Rodgers’ side were struggling to find the net and had been without a win in four, ahead of facing a Palace side under Neil Warnock that hadn’t won any of their last five and were in the relegation zone before kick-off. The game was billed as Liverpool’s revenge for the infamous 3-3 last season that effectively killed their title chances, and despite Rickie Lambert giving The Reds a second-minute lead they were not to have their win. Dwight Gayle equalised in the first half before goals from Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak – a stunning free kick – in the closing minutes gave the points to Palace.
This Time Around: Palace didn’t win another match under Neil Warnock, but his replacement Alan Pardew has turned things around at the club. Liverpool, meanwhile, have lost just one of the 13 league matches since, as Rodgers’ team has begun to gel properly. This is the cup, though, when form goes out of the window and anything can happen. Pardew once scored the winner for Palace in a FA Cup Semi Final against Liverpool back in 1990, in what remains the club’s greatest ever result, and their only FA Cup meeting since came in 2003 when ten man Palace – then a second tier side – knocked out The Reds 2-0 at Anfield in a replay. Steven Gerrard, Lucas, Jordon Ibe and potentially Raheem Sterling are all missing for Liverpool at Selhurst Park, so if the visiting side are to progress they’ll have to do it the hard way.