Liverpool is nicely placed in a 5th position in the Premier League table without playing particularly well so far. In fact Lady Luck has been on our side on several occasions. Now it´s time to take luck in our own hands and see off Hull at home this afternoon.
That would set us up good ahead of the forthcoming fixtures including Swansea in the League Cup, Real Madrid in the Champions League and Chelsea in a crucial home game in the Premier League on the 8th of November.
It seems that every match this season is a must-game for the Reds. No exception today. A defeat at home versus the Tigers would be a devastating blow and would take us back to square one just when we have created something to build on, namely two wins on the spin in the league. A triumph would finally give us a self-confidence boosting sequence.
But as always in the English top tier it won´t be easy. Hull was promoted last season and played well for a long time, held a midtable position before fading a bit in the end. This season they have started fairly well and are in midtable again. Their squad is stronger than a year ago and they have so far only suffered two defeats. In the last two away games Hull was close to beat both Newcastle and Arsenal but let in late goals which meant two 2-2 results. Liverpool is warned.
Hull is better going forward than defending and almost everytime they score and fail to keep a clean sheet. Just like the Reds. Liverpool are three points ahead of Hull and claim just one goal better in goal-difference. So a Hull win would mean that they leapfrog Liverpool in the table.
It shouldn´t happen, and I´m sure it won´t. Liverpool is of course recovering from the Real lesson but is a better team than Hull and should win. At the moment, though, not every red player is firing on all cylinders. A few are in good form, others are desperately seeking their peak. Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana are in the former cathegory and showed some promising interaction against Real. All three must start against Hull. They are the most creative players we got and the hardest to stop. The Hull defence is vulnerable and we need quick and tricky players to penetrate it. The mentioned trio fits the bill.
Some other Liverpool players need to step up and start performing at a higher level, their best. That goes for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, central defender Dejan Lovren, midfielders Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson and striker Mario Balotelli. It´s about time that the whole team hits the heights simultaneously.
A Liverpool win would keep up the fine record we have against Hull. In 18 league and cup games through the years we have lost only once, away in the league last season. At Anfield Liverpool has clocked up six victories, one draw and no setbacks.
Last season it was a ordinary day at the office when Liverpool won 2-0 on New Years Day. I was in fact at Anfield watching Daniel Agger and Luis Suarez sealing the win. Hull was that time at least as good as Liverpool play-wise and the visiting fans a lot louder than the home crowd. Liverpool came from two defeats versus Manchester City and Chelsea so a deflated home crowd was probably understandable. This time we come from two wins in the league and the twelfth man must be just that today.
I would field this team in a 4-1-4-1 formation:
GK: Simon Mignolet. RB: Javier Manquillo. CB: Martin Skrtel. CB: Dejan Lovren. LB: Alberto Moreno. DM: Joe Allen. RM: Raheem Sterling. CM: Steven Gerrard. AM: Philippe Coutinho. LM: Adam Lallana. CF: Fabio Borini.
Yes, I would bench Balotelli and Henderson and go for a team with skilful, small and quick players. Fabio Borini is not a world-beater but worthy of a chance. This eleven could ran rings around the Hull defence, create an attractive attacking play and score a few goals. It´s time for a handsome win and a clean sheet. So:
We Go Again.