Hull managed to frustrate Manchester United during the week and will be hoping for a similar result against Liverpool this weekend. The Reds were much improved against Chelsea, but they couldn’t pick up a win and they desperately need to find the winning habit again soon. During their first meeting of the season, Liverpool ran out 5-1 winners, but this is a much-changed Hull City side and it won’t be as easy for the Merseyside team.
Marco Silva has done excellently since taking over at Hull City and showed exactly why the club were keen to bring him in. He has massively changed the way that the club prepares for matches, with more detailed tactical meetings and it is clearly having a positive effect. They did sell some key players last month, but they have brought in some talented players too and they will still believe in their ability to stay in the league.
Liverpool have struggled without Sadio Mane and they have now lost ground in the title race. The league was always likely to be beyond them, but their overachievement during the first half of the season has hindered them. That expectation means that they enter every match with pressure on them and they have become somewhat restricted in their attacking play. They have missed Mane, but the problem is bigger than that. A win this weekend would provide a welcome boost after an awful month.
Hull have been good since the change of manager and there is renewed optimism about their survival chances. In the league, they have taken four points from three matches, which isn’t a bad return considering two of the matches have been against Chelsea and Manchester United. These aren’t the matches that will define their season, but the performances have been good and underlines that the decision to change managers was the correct one.
Liverpool have played nine matches already in 2017 after some tough scheduling, but that doesn’t excuse the poor results that have seen the Reds fall down the league table and out of two cups. They still possess the best attack in the league and a few good results will consolidate their position in the top four. The draw against Chelsea was a start, but a win this weekend is much needed to ease the concerns of the supporters.
It is difficult to predict the Hull line-up at the moment, after the changes that their squad went through during January, but Poland international Kamil Grosicki could be in line for a start. Lazar Markovic won’t play, while Abel Hernandez could be in line for a recall.
Sadio Mane will come back into the starting eleven and it will be either Emre Can or Gini Wijnaldum that will lose their place. Adam Lallana will move back into a more familiar role in the centre of midfield.
Hull City Liverpool
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Curtis Davies, Ryan Mason, Markus Henriksen, Will Keane and Moses Odubajo are all out injured, while Lazar Markovic will be ineligible to play against his parent club.
Ovie Ejaria, Marko Grujic, and Danny Ings are the only injury concerns for Liverpool, but none of them are regular first team players, so it won’t be a big problem for Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool are the favourites for this match and that shouldn’t be a surprise considering their position in the table, but they won’t relish a trip to Hull City. Manchester United lost here in the Capital One Cup and Hull were the better team on that occasion. If they deliver a similar performance this weekend, they will fancy their chances against an out of form Liverpool team. The return of Sadio Mane to the starting eleven should provide a huge boost, but there remains a confidence issue at the club at the moment. If Hull start strongly, they have a great chance. That said, I think Liverpool will return to winning ways.
Score Prediction: Hull City 1-2 Liverpool