Liverpool v Hull City: Team News & Opposition Preview – Lallana to return for Reds?

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Liverpool welcome Hull City to Anfield for their second home game in three days on Saturday afternoon, as the Reds return to Premier League action. Ben Twelves previews the clash.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 1, 2014: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Hull City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool play their third game in six days on Saturday afternoon when they take on Hull at Anfield, looking to bounce back from Wednesday night’s defeat by recording three straight league wins for the first time this season.

The Reds are yet to reproduce anywhere near the kind of form of last season, but despite the poor performances, Rodgers’ men find themselves outside of the Champions League places only on goal difference, level on 13 points with West Ham and ahead of top four rivals Arsenal, Man United and Tottenham in the Premier League table.

Defensive issues continue to hamper Rodgers’ side, who got away with an abysmal display against QPR last Sunday thanks to two comical own-goals from the home side, and Rodgers and his team need to rectify the problems urgently before their luck runs out.

Last season’s corresponding fixture saw Liverpool record a 2-0 victory against The Tigers at Anfield on New Year’s Day thanks to a goal in either half, from Daniel Agger and Luis Suarez.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 1, 2014: Liverpool's Daniel Agger celebrates scoring the first goal against Hull City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Agger put the Reds ahead when he nodded in from Philippe Coutinho’s corner before Luis Suarez – who earlier had a goal disallowed for offside – then whipped a fantastic free-kick into the top left corner of the Kop goal to double Liverpool’s lead in the second half and help Rodgers’ team record a seventh straight home win.

 

Team News

Liverpool are still without Daniel Sturridge who will miss his 10th game of the season for Hull’s visit, due to his calf injury picked up training, and he’s not the only absentee with Mamadou Sakho and Jon Flanagan also injured with thigh and knee problems respectively.

Rodgers may have some big decisions to make ahead of the clash as to where to freshen up his side for the match at Anfield, after a busy week of three matches and with Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie with Swansea to come.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Liverpool's Emre Can in action against Real Madrid CF during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Powerful German midfielder, Emre Can, who came on as a second half substitute on Wednesday for Jordan Henderson, will be one of those hoping to benefit from potential squad rotation, as will Javier Manquillo who sat out his second game in a row with Glen Johnson preferred at right back to the young Spaniard against Real Madrid.

20-year-old Serbian, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana are also in contention for starting berths after both players entered proceedings as second half substitutes against Madrid, replacing Philippe Coutinho and Mario Balotelli.

Big question marks hang over Balotelli’s selection for the game, after the Italian striker was hauled off at half time on Wednesday night, and both Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini will be hopeful of benefitting from the former AC Milan mans’ uninspiring start to life at Anfield.

 

Opposition

HULL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 1, 2013: Hull City's David Meyler celebrates scoring the second goal against Liverpool during the Premiership match at the KC Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Hull arrive on Merseyside off the back of battling to an impressive draw against Arsenal last weekend which effects this weekend’s odds. They currently sit 11th in the table after an inconsistent first eight games, which has seen them win and lose twice, with four draws to show.

Steve Bruce’s sides’ – who have won once so far away from home in the league – goals for and against column is almost identical to Liverpool’s, with both teams having scored 13 goals, but City have conceded the same amount at the other end whereas the Reds have conceded one goal less, resulting in a positive goal difference in contrast.

Hull enjoyed a productive summer transfer window, adding some real quality to their ranks, including the loan signings of once reported Liverpool target Gaston Ramirez from Southampton and the gifted Hatem Ben-Arfa from Newcastle.

Alongside their arrivals, Bruce swooped to bring in Mohammed Diame from West Ham, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore all from Tottenham as well as former Red Tom Ince from Blackpool.

After selling George Boyd to Burnley for £3million and Shane Long to Southampton for a record received fee of £12 million, Bruce replaced the Irishman with a club record signing Abel Hernandez from Palermo – who has notched three goals in five games since arriving at the KC Stadium.

City have never tasted victory at Anfield but Bruce’s side will be looking to improve on their last two visits of 2-0 and 6-1 defeats, and break that duck on Saturday as Rodgers’ Reds face up to their third game in quick succession.

Worryingly, Hull boast the best conversion record from set-pieces this season in the Premier League.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 26, 2009: Liverpool's scoreboard records Liverpool's 6-1 victory over Hull City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For only the second time this season Liverpool enjoy the feat of a traditional 3pm kick-off.

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