What if…is the reigning feeling right now. What if Liverpool had been able to beat West Bromwich on Saturday and then managed to down Hull in Hull tonight. Well, then it really would have been a dogfight for fourth place since Manchester United lost two games on the trot. They have collected 65 points and if Liverpool had won the two mentioned games we would have been hot on United´s heels, just two points behind with four games to go. Now, even if we defeat Hull, and that´s a big if, the margin will be four points, a substantially much more difficult gap to close with just four fixtures left.
It would have taken just one ball into the West Brom net to make the rest of the season interesting. But it wasn´t to be, now it takes some kind of miracle for us to pass our arch rivals in the table and grab fourth.
So the match versus the Tigers is all about showing professionalism and perform well. But Hull won´t roll over and die, on the contrary, they will fight for their lives since their Premier League existence is in jeopardy. They are at the moment just one point above the dreaded relegation zone. After recently just collecting two points in six matches Hull dropped into the stay-up battle but in the last game a welcome away victory kept them just above the bottom three.
The Hull-Liverpool fixture is a rare one. The teams has met just 13 times in the league through the years. Six of those matches were played out in the second tier in the fifties. The last seven is Premier League matches since the 2008/09 season. Liverpool has a strong upper hand winning eight of the 13 clashes losing just one - but the defeat came in our last visit to the KC Stadium. Hull beat us 3-1 in December 2013. Liverpool took revenge on New Years Day, 2-0, but the first encounter this season ended in a dull 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Hull has in fact just lost once in the last four league meetings. Time to give them a spanking again like Liverpool did in September 2009 winning 6-1. Okay, 6-1 is too much to ask but a decent display by Liverpool and a win is long overdue. I will be utterly disappointed if once again fail to show pride, guts and grit and some fine football.
This is my team tonight (in a 4-3-3 formation):
GK: Simon Mignolet. RB: Glen Johnson. CB: Martin Skrtel. CB: Dejan Lovren. LB: Alberto Moreno. DM: Emre Can. RM: Steven Gerrard. LM: Adam Lallana. RF: Jordon Ibe. CF: Mario Balotelli. LF: Philippe Coutinho.
I don´t fancy Can as an outright fullback hence Johnson and Moreno inte line-up. Jordan Henderson has been tired in recent games and needs a rest. Gerrard has not played well this season but because of his his great long-serving effort he deserves a lot of game time in his final few matches for the Reds. Raheem Sterling is very selfish in normal circumstances, even more right now, perhaps he wants to show how clever he is in order to get a transfer to one of the Spanish big boys. Whatever the reason, he should be benched and at the same time Balotelli is worth the chance to start two games on the spin. He is not a good option, but the best we have.
I am prepared for another lacklustre showing and a win would be a pleasant surprise as:
We Go Again.