Liverpool v Hull City
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 26th September 2009
Kick Off : 15:00
Ground : Anfield
“It has been a long time coming waiting for my first start but I’ve had to keep grafting hard and wait for my chance. I knew it was going to come soon and thankfully we got the result we needed. I felt I did alright and hopefully I’ve proved to the boss and the supporters that I can do it for the first team. I worked hard and just tried to show the manager what I’m capable of. Hopefully I will get another chance but I have just got to keep working hard and then take the chance when it comes.” The voice of our young Jay Spearing following the victory over Leeds United.
With Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, a Merseyside presence in the first team is secured for a few more years, every Liverpool supporter is eyeing the new generation of local boys to follow in their footsteps. It was a magical night watching Spearing, the Wirral-born midfielder play his first full 90 minutes and the boyhood Red played his part as Rafael Benitez’s side had to work hard for the victory.
Tuesday night saw Rafa make nine changes from the 3-2 win at West Ham but it was David Ngog who rose to the challenge against the League One pace setters who have had a club record of 15 successive home league wins and an unbeaten start to their campaign.
Just two months into the season and the media have revelled over our supposedly lack of depth upfront. Yet Torres now has 5 goals, Kuyt already has 4 goals while David Ngog already has two goals to his name so far this season. Since arriving from Paris Saint Germain in July 2008, Ngog has only started six games for Liverpool but he has scored five goals in those six starts, an impressive record for a 20 year old. With a Premier League goal against Stoke City to his name already this season, the 20 year-old Frenchman has strengthened his claims to be understudy to Fernando Torres already this season.
Rafa’s attentions now turn to Saturday afternoon for Hull’s visit to Anfield. Our 2-2 draw with Phil Brown’s side in the corresponding fixture last season is a match that vividly remains in the minds of every Liverpool supporter. Hull came to Anfield with a lot of confidence and Sami Hyypia was recalled to our starting line up to deal with their threat from set pieces. Liverpool started the game very adventurous but the Yorkshire side caught us on the break and took a 2-0 lead.
Hull have had a downturn in form since that game last December while their four points from the opening six games is also a disappointing statistic. Last season, Liverpool dominated the second half but lacked a cutting edge in the final third and the more desperate Liverpool were for the winner the more dangerous Hull became. I believe Phil Brown will set up to counter attack and contain, they’ll work very hard and make life difficult for us.
An interesting statistic as we prepare for Saturdays game: If the Reds secure the vital three points against Hull on Saturday they will already have improved on points collected from the corresponding fixtures from last season…
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Liverpool Team News
Nabil El Zhar has returned to training but is unlikely to feature in the squad while Daniel Agger is training normally, Agger could return to the frame after recovering from a back injury while Alberto Aquilani has yet to return to training. Fabio Aurelio came through the game at Leeds after returning from a knee injury sustained over the summer.
Liverpool have never conceded more goals in their opening six games of a Premier League season than they have in 2009-10 and all nine goals have come about from set plays so Rafa will be looking for an improvement from the defence on Saturday.
Reina should continue in goal, while Carragher and Skrtel are expected to form the bedrock of the defence with Glen Johnson on the right and I’m also expecting Emiliano Insua to keep his place on the left ahead of Fabio Aurelio.
In last weeks Redkopi issue, I asked readers the following question : With Fabio Aurelio returning to first team action who should be our number one regular starting left back? 35% of readers prefer to see our impressive young Argentine Emiliano Insua continue at left back while 65% of readers voted to see Fabio Aurelio return as first choice left back…
The midfield should have a familiar line up to it with Mascherano and Lucas in the centre, Kuyt out wide on the right and Benayoun out on the left while Gerrard and Torres will start upfront.
Liverpool Top Goalscorers
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Hull City Team Prediction
This week on Redkopi, I got the views of Hull fan and editor of the Hull City Boyhood Dreams Blog…..
1) How will Hull City approach this game with regards team formation and tactics and what is your predicted line up?
The no-brainer involved with a trip to Liverpool means we’ll probably adopt a 4-5-1, with Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink as a lone outlet, supplied by the roaming qualities of Geovanni and the wing play of impressive new signings Stephen Hunt and Kamel Ghilas.
Im expecting Hull to line up as follows – Myhill, McShane, Sonko, Zayatte, Dawson, Ghilas, Marney, Geovanni, Olofinjana, Hunt, Vennegoor of Hesselink.
This would involve one change from the 4-4-2 that lost to Birmingham, with Ghilas returning in place of American striker Jozy Altidore. Nick Barmby is likely to be on the bench.
2) Who will be the the main Hull player for Liverpool to keep an eye on and why?
Geovanni is always the biggest threat on a creative front and also through his ability to produce something totally wild after a quiet period. Ghilas is a quick presence too, and could produce the sort of attacking display that Bernard Mendy did so memorably at Anfield last season.
3) Is there any areas of Hull’s formation Rafa Benitez will be looking to exploit?
We are too soft in defence at the moment thanks to the controversial departures of Sam Ricketts and Michael Turner in the transfer window. Right back Ricketts has been replaced by the uncompromising Paul McShane’s arrival on a permanent basis – he was on loan from Sunderland when he scored at Anfield last season – but the hole left by the iconic Turner in the centre of defence will remain gaping for some time, with Ibrahima Sonko and Kamil Zayatte providing strength but very little, compared to Turner, in terms of reading the game and just being positionally sound and having the knack of getting it right every time.
Match Officials :
Referee: Peter Walton
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and Peter Kirkup
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner
Last Five Meetings :
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The Reds have recorded eleven victories and lost none of the fourteen meetings with Hull City in all competitions. The Reds have scored 50 goals in their last 17 Premier league games and in that run no team has stopped them scoring, i’m expecting the Reds to continue their goalscoring form on Saturday with a vital 3-1 win. The Reds now have 5 successive victories in all competitions and will be looking to continue this form ahead of next weeks clashes against Fiorentina and Chelsea…
Let us know your Prediction for Saturdays game…
Redkopi – The Eye of the Red Kop