10am, live in the US on Setanta
Last 4 head-to-head:
2-2 (h) 12.13.08
4-2 Liverpool (h; League Cup) 09.21.99
5-1 Liverpool (a; League Cup) 09.14.99
3-2 Liverpool (a; FA Cup) 02.18.89
Last 3 matches:
Liverpool: 4-4 Arsenal (h); 4-4 Chelsea (a); 4-0 Blackburn (h)
Hull: 0-1 Sunderland (a); 1-3 Boro (a); 0-0 Pompey (h)
Liverpool: Gerrard, Torres 13; Kuyt 8; Benayoun 6; Alonso, Riera 3; Aurelio, Babel, Ngog 2; Agger, Arbeloa, Carragher, Dossena, Hyypia 1
Hull: Geovanni 7; Cousin, Turner 4; Fagan, Manucho, Mendy 2; Ashbee, Barmby, Folan, Garcia, McShane, Windass, Zayette 1
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Guess at a squad:
Arbeloa Carragher Hyypia Insua
Kuyt Benayoun Riera
So, what are the odds on a third successive 4-4 result?
Maybe I shouldn’t test my luck by mentioning a draw, given the 2-2 scoreline in the reverse fixture.
I think the line-up pretty much writes itself with eight days before the next match and Gerrard still out. The only real questions are in defense, which has let in four goals in successive games.
I’d pick Insua here even if Aurelio didn’t have a mare on Tuesday. The young Argentinean needs to be further bedded in, and past performances have shown he’s no liability. I reckon I don’t need to reiterate my regard for the player, but he just seems to fit with the side.
In addition, it’d be odd to see Skrtel left out of two straight games, but this seems one tailor-made for Hyypia. Although I’m not sure if the Finn’s fit after picking up a knock with Finland; I haven’t seen any news other than he supposedly made the squad for Arsenal (according to the BBC), but wasn’t on the bench. Seems like it has to be one of those two paired with Carra, and I like the idea of having the old wily veteran next to Insua.
I think recent results have proven that Liverpool’s more dangerous with Benayoun in the middle when Gerrard’s absent. Torres and Kuyt up top in a 4-4-2 has worked in some games, but Benayoun’s been the better option. And it’s not as if Kuyt’s disappointed on the right – on form alone, he’s made that flank his own – and I’m glad to see him quiet the naysayers.
Admittedly, this is a different Hull than the one faced in December. They were sixth at the time, having taken 26 points from 16 games. They’re now 16th, with eight more points than before that match in December (where they picked up one), and winless in six, having lost four of those games.
But obviously, given this unpredictable nature of this team and this club, anything can happen. I find it hard to believe Liverpool would underestimate any side at this stage in this season, with this much to play for. Especially one that they drew in December, two points they should be very aggrieved about.