27 April 2015

Liverpool at Hull City 04.28.15

2:45pm ET, live in the US on NBC Sports

Last four head-to-head:
0-0 (h) 10.25.14
2-0 Liverpool (h) 01.01.14
1-3 Hull (a) 12.01.13
0-0 (a) 05.09.10

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 0-0 West Brom (a); 1-2 Villa (n); 2-0 Newcastle (h)
Hull: 2-0 Palace (a); 0-2 Southampton (a); 1-3 Swansea (a)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Sterling 7; Gerrard, Henderson 6; Coutinho, Lallana, Sturridge 4; Lambert, Markovic, Moreno 2; Allen, Balotelli, Borini, Can, Johnson, Skrtel 1
Hull: Jelavic 8; N'Doye 5; Diame, Hernandez 4; Chester, Elmohamady 2; Aluko, Livermore, McShane, Meyler, Ramirez 1

Referee: Lee Probert

Guess at a line-up:
Can Skrtel Lovren Moreno
Henderson Coutinho
Ibe Sterling Lallana

What you saw on Saturday you'll probably see again tomorrow.

Hull are going to do exactly what West Brom did. Because it worked, and because that's exactly what Hull did in the reverse fixture last October. How can Liverpool ensure a different result? Can Liverpool ensure a different result?

Given Liverpool's proclivities in the last few matches, you'd expect Rodgers to stick with the 4-3-3. You'd expect Balotelli to be left out after offering little against West Brom. You'd expect Gerrard (and Johnson, for that matter) wouldn't be available after playing 90 minutes on Saturday, but then again, it is Gerrard and all rules about form and fitness don't seem to apply. Moreno should be fit again after missing Saturday's match, but Sturridge, Sakho, and Lucas are all still out.

So the above is my best guess. Can remaining at right-back again with Moreno returning on the left. Allen replacing Gerrard in midfield, Sterling replacing Balotelli up front with Lallana coming in on the left, as he did as a substitute on Saturday. But, no, I don't think it's the best chance for a better result either.

If I had my way, I'd prefer the return to 3-4-3. I'd prefer Coutinho get another chance as false nine, which led to the only time Liverpool scored two goals in a match since March 4. I'd prefer Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Ibe, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling. But given the XIs named in the last four or five matches, I don't think that's likely.

If Rodgers really wants to stick with the 4-3-3, shift Can into midfield and Coutinho into the front three, at the expense of either Lallana or Ibe. Maybe even as the false nine again. Use Manquillo at right-back – for the first time in three months – or even (sigh) Johnson again. Something like Mignolet; Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Allen, Henderson; Ibe, Coutinho, Sterling. But, again, that's not what recent XIs suggest will happen.

Like West Brom, Hull are coming off a vital 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, which was prefaced by a losing streak which has dragged them far too close to the bottom three. Hull are in greater need of points than West Brom were, currently just one point and goal difference outside of the relegation zone. I doubt it'll change Bruce's tactics that much; Hull will be slightly more likely than West Brom to go in search of a counter-attack or set play goal, but they'll still first and foremost look to keep Liverpool from breaking through by defending as deep as possible in as great of numbers as possible.

Hull also have somewhat of an injury crisis on their hands. Diame might be fit after struggling with a recurring knee injury, but Jelavic, Davies, Snodgrass, and Robertson are out, while Meyler's suspended. All six are probable starters when available.

Despite the short turnaround after Saturday's match, I expect Bruce will keep faith with the same XI that beat Palace, the same 3-5-2 which stifled Liverpool in the reverse fixture. Harper; Chester, Dawson, McShane; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Quinn, Brady; N'Doye, Aluko. The only possible changes are if Diame's available from the start, most likely in place of Quinn, or if Abel Hernandez is preferred to Aluko.

So you can expect Hull to be Hull. Will Liverpool continue to be Liverpool?

1 comment :

Anonymous said...


We're gonna win!