28th April, 2015; 19.45 GMT
Liverpool take on Hull City in the Premier League on Monday night with the hope of closing down the gap on fourth placed Manchester United by four points, as even though their top 4 hopes might be well gone, they could still keep some pressure on the Red Devils and try to do the best they can.
16th placed Hull meanwhile would be hoping for all the three points to ensure that the result helps them escape the relegation threat completely.
Team News & Tactics
Steve Bruce could be happy with the return of Mohamed Diame for the match but has a number of absentees in the form of Nikica Jelavic, Robert Snodgrass, Curtis Davies, and Andrew Robertson who are ruled out with injury. David Meyler is also out with a three-match suspension.
The Tigers are not in good form but will be entering the game with confidence after a morale boosting 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Add to that, Steve Bruce has a pretty decent record against Brendan Rodgers’s Liverpool – one win, one draw and one loss. Hull only have four wins in the Premier League at home, but despite that, they have managed to be out of the drop-zone. The Tigers have the advantage of four of their remaining five games taking place at the KC Stadium and should look to get as many points out of these if they wish to spend another season in the Premier League. However four of their remaining matches are against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Therefore they need all the points they can get against a toothless looking current Liverpool side.
N’Doye, who got the double against Palace, will be Hull’s biggest goal-threat, especially since Abel Hernandez is likely to start from the bench. The likes of Huddlestone and Livermore, who have done against Liverpool in the past would look to dominate the midfield and win the battle over Allen and Gerrard – someone who has looked out of touch recently.
Hull haven’t done too well recently, but Liverpool look like a skeleton of their January self and the home side will have every reason to believe they can get a result against the Reds. The lack of a natural goalscorer is really letting Rodgers’s down and as West Brom showed, if Hull can organize themselves well in discipline, park the bus if you will, they can easily get a valued point out of the game. They could only hit Liverpool on the counter-attack and hope that that yields them some results.
Probable Line-Up (3-5-2): McGregor, Chester, Dawson, McShane; Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Quinn, Brady; N’Doye, Aluko
Liverpool would be cursing themselves. After Manchester United lost to Everton 0-3, a win against West Brom instead of a draw, and a win over Hull would have meant the Merseysiders are two points behind United. However that stalemate meant Liverpool’s four point gap wouldn’t be enough to pressure van Gaal’s side Still the Reds would want to win every one of their remaining matches to accumulate as many points with or without favors from the sides above them.
What has hurt Rodgers the most this term is the lack of goals and the fact that Daniel Sturridge has pretty much been ruled out of the season shows why Liverpool, who finished second – narrowly – in the table last season, look nothing like that team. Alberto Moreno, Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho are all injury doubts for the game but Adam Lallana, who came on as a substitute against West Brom, would be fit enough to start the game if called upon. Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson might not start after playing the full 90 minutes against West Brom.
It is extremely difficult to guess what formation and who Brendan Rodgers is going to use for the game as he has tinkered with too many recently. But we could see Javier Manquillo come back to the line-up in case Johnson is not used. It makes sense for Emre Can, who would in all probability be used in the midfield next season, to start in the heart of the pitch alongside Henderson simply because the Reds don’t have anything to lose and getting them built for next season is the wisest thing.
Liverpool need a win in the game, not just because they want to put pressure on the teams above them but because anything but one will only worsen the mood around the club who have seen things go from bad to worse since the loss to Manchester United one month back.
Probable Line-up (3-4-2-1): Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Ibe, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling
- Of the 19 competitive games between Hull City and Liverpool, the Tigers have won just one (D5, L13). Their sole victory was by a 3-1 scoreline at the KC Stadium on 1 December 2013.
- Hull City have claimed 16 points on home turf this term – only Aston Villa, with 15, have a poorer Premier League record.
- Liverpool have taken only four points from the last 12 available.
- Their tally of 14 top-flight clean sheets is bettered only by Chelsea, who have recorded 15 this season.
Player to watch out for
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
For Liverpool recently, if Coutinho hasn’t played well, Liverpool haven’t had any attacking threat whatsoever. The 22 year-old just won himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year and would be pumped to do well against the Tigers and justify his inclusion, that has been criticized by some. The Brazilian has been the sole bright light in a disappointing season and would be Liverpool’s key player in the match.
Hull City 2 Liverpool 1
Liverpool have found it tough work against Hull City since Rodgers arrived and they don’t go into the game in the circumstances they would have hoped for. Expect a narrow, but important win for the home side.