Finding a happier manager than Alan Pardew is not currently the simplest of tasks. After all, the polarising manager had left behind the turmoil and uncertainty of Newcastle for the warm embrace of the club he made more than 120 league appearances for.
Yes, Alan Pardew is at last free from the stresses that clouded his career in recent years, and he appears to be thriving. Over four recent Premier League outings, Crystal Palace earned a highly respectable nine points out of a possible 12. At present, the Eagles could fly as high as mid-table by the end of the season.
In contrast, managerial life isn’t quite so laid back for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Despite improving Liverpool’s league form in recent weeks, following a switch to 3-4-3, Rodgers always appears to be two straight losses from getting sacked.
After spending millions developing his current squad, the Northern Irishman has been correctly accused of being ill equipped for a number of Liverpool’s fixtures this season. And that could be the case when playing Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Liverpool attackers Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho have both been nursing minor injuries since drawing 0-0 in the Merseyside derby. Another question mark is Daniel Sturridge, as he is not yet fit enough to start every game.
Feeling under pressure to deliver silverware, Brendan Rodgers could choose to start Sturridge against the Eagles. In that case, he will need to turn to one of his striking castoffs later in the game, with options including Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, and Rickie Lambert.
Crystal Palace supposedly have the home advantage, but the pressure could count against them at Selhurst Park. While Palace have benefited from the goals of Dwight Gayle, they could be without the influential duo of Mile Jedinak and Yannick Bolasie.
Tip one: Under 2.5 Goals, odds 2.0 @ William Hill
Tip two: Draw, odds 3.6 @ William Hill
Alan Pardew will set up his team to defend against Liverpool, so backing under 2.5 goals is shrewd. Additionally, Liverpool’s inability to emerge victorious in the winnable games suggests that a draw is possible.