1 Dec 2013

FT: Hull 3-1 LFC. Reds humbled by relegation fodder. Worst performance this season...?

Liverpool go into today's Premier League match with Hull City with the knowledge that striker Daniel Sturridge is set for a long spell on the sidelines with yet another injury. Luis Suarez is obviously an able deputy, but the injuries just keep on coming for the Reds, and with the busy Christmas period just around the corner, this could ultimately end up having an adverse impact on the club's season.

On the injury front:

* Sturridge, Enrique and Aspas will definitely miss the game.

* Suarez and Skrtel suffered injuries during Friday's training session, but both are expected to start the game.

After conceding three goals against Everton last week, Rodgers will probably shake up the defence yet again, and seems certain that Mamadou Sakho will come back into the team at the expense of Daniel Agger, who had a poor game against Everton.

Given the gash on his knee, Rodgers may also decide to rest Skrtel, and bring in Kolo Toure, who hasn't kicked a ball since November 2nd. There's no point taking any risks with the Slovakian's fitness, and with Hull City having problems in front of goal, making changes isn't a massive risk.

Another issue to consider is Luis Suarez. He took several knocks against Everton last week, and hobbled out of Friday's training session, so playing him could be risky, especially if he picks up an injury and is ruled out of the upcoming Christmas period (!)

With Sturridge out, though, I can't see Rodgers resting Suarez. He's proven to be a man of steel throughout his LFC career, seemingly impervious to injury, so I expect him to start. And given the type of player he is, Suarez will probably demand to start, too.

What about Joe Allen and Jon Flanagan? Both had contrasting fortunes against Everton, but Flanagan will probably retain his place. After the overwrought, hyperbolic praise from Gerrard and Rodgers, it would be strange for the Flanagan to then be dropped. As for Allen - the injury to Sturridge may open up the possibility of a reprieve for him, but it's more likely that Moses will come into the team instead. As such, I expect to see the following team:

------------------- Mignolet

Johnson -------- Toure -- Sakho ---- Flanagan

------------------ Lucas

------------ Hendo -- Gerrard

----- Moses --------------- Coutinho

---------------- Suarez

On paper, that team is more that good enough to get a win against Hull, and irrespective of injuries, anything less than a win is not good enough for a team hoping to make the Champions League places. The pressure is on this week: Arsenal are seven points ahead, and the Reds could drop out of the top four today if things go badly.

Ultimately, Rodgers has five decisions to make:

* Keep Agger in the team or replace him with Sakho?
* Play Toure and rest Skrtel?
* Keep Flanagan in the team, or bring back Cissokho?
* Drop Joe Allen, or keep him in the team?
* Rest Suarez as a precautionary measure?

Predicting a 2-0 win for Liverpool, Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"I think this might be a good time to play Hull because everybody now knows they cannot score goals. The Tigers are a good, solid, functional side that does not concede many, but they do not really look like scoring either.

"Liverpool have only kept one clean sheet since they beat Manchester United 1-0 on 1 September but I would back them to get one here and, with Luis Suarez in the form he is in, they will not be short of chances at the other end".

My prediction: 3-0 or 4-0 to LFC.



  1. I was thinking the same bout thestarting lineup, Jamie. I think its time for Rodgers to start or give some of the youngsters some match time. I think Hull plays a similar style to west ham, so sakho and toure will come in handy. I want to see more of alberto, Flanagan and sterling though.

  2. That is the back four I would go with. Let's go get 3 points!

  3. Johnson---Toure---Sakho---Flanagan





  4. 4 wins, 2 draws, 1 lost, is the minimum required out of Rodgers and the players in December.

  5. City will definitely win today. In one of the other 3 big games something big i ought to happen.

  6. I do not understand thus far why Alberto has not had a single chance to start a game this season? Why spend money to give the squad depth, if you will not allow game time to players bought over players in loan? Talking of moses! His ratio in front of goal (and assists) compared to number of games started is not good to say the least. I really hope alberto get the nod to start againt hull!!

  7. In fairness he is young and it is not yet even a quarter of the season in yet.

  8. I agree. It would be good to see Alberto get the nod today, but I can't see it. Moses really needs to score/create a goal if he starts today. One goal/no assists in 9 apps is not really good enough.

  9. Big game for moses/allen today if selected and overall a big week for the reds...9 points is a must for a tough upcoming xmas period ahead.

  10. Really enjoyed this article Jamie!

    This is what i had become accustomed to so welcome back!

    Just as a constructive comment; The articles relating to "Top Talent" and "Outstanding" and "Next Xavi", "Next Messi" are just sensationalism and really dont leave much to debate or generate any thought whatsoever.

    This is just a constructive comment and totally not meant to be construed in any other way.

    Again; Really enjoyed this article. Keep it up!

  11. Players like texiera must be given chances, hes been here for almost two years now I think still didnt play a game for the first team, surely must be better than aspas allen cissokho etc, sturridge missing but hull are poor atm even c palace beat them last week must win game, moses should replace daniel up front, if we dont win by three goals its almost like a defeat for me

  12. I hate to talk about 'must-win games' as I deem it a meaningless phrase, but right now we are just on par for a Top 4 place at 2ppg, and so we really do need to be winning to keep on track.

    Especially this year where there are so many teams bunched on around the same point totals, we need to go all out against teams like Hull to bolster our goal differential, even away from home and without a key frontman

  13. ---------------Mignolet------------------

    He's had enough time on the bench, it's time to unleash Sterling again, along with Moses, and give Coutinho additional through ball targets in the final third.

    It may be harsh on Henderson, but Lucas and Gerrard aren't being dropped, and I want to see as many likely match-winners on the pitch against the likes of Hull as possible

  14. I actually like the look of that team, but can't see Ibe ahead of Sterling already.

    And I don't have anywhere near as much belief in Flanagan (nor as many doubts about Cissokho) as everybody else seems to ...

  15. Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Toure, Skrtel, Flanagan, Lucas, Gerrard, Sterling, Henderson, Moses, Suarez.

    Subs: Jones, Agger, Alberto, Aspas, Coutinho, Sakho, Allen

  16. Not sure why Rodgers has not gone with Toure and Sakho? This would have been a good game to test them as a CB pair. Also no Coutinho is the team. maybe he is getting a rest...

    but where is the creativity going to come from?

  17. Eum Bergkamp had just won a UEFA cup with Inter which himself and Jonk pretty much won themselves. He'd also won a UEFA cup with Ajax. Hardly unestablished. Same goes for Henry, he was a tremendous talent at Monaco. Sure things didn't work out for him at Juve and these things happen but people knew who he was. Well, people outside of England because in England people still thought guys like Waddle and Bryan Robson were superstars.

  18. It hasn't worked for Alberto exactly BECAUSE he doesn't play that much. And what exactly has Sakho done other than watching balls fly past him and into our net occasionally?

  19. At least those guys started well. The three I've mentioned haven't even managed to do that. You can throw Aspas in there as well for all I care.