The FourFourTwo Preview: Hull vs Liverpool
The 2017 UK City of Culture vs the 2008 European Capital of Culture.
Can Hull beat a team with more than nine players? Although Sunderland fell after suffering two Poyet-enraging red cards, the Tigers haven't beaten a full complement since September's 1-0 win over West Ham via a soft penalty.
- Hull 0-1 Palace (Prem)
- So'ton 4-1 Hull (Prem)
- Hull 1-0 S'land (Prem)
- Spurs p2-2 Hull (LC)
- Spurs 1-0 Hull (Prem)
- Everton 3-3 Liverpool (Prem)
- Liverpool 4-0 Fulham (Prem)
- Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool (Prem)
- Liverpool 4-1 WBA (Prem)
- Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool (Prem)
Last time out, Steve Bruce's side got another somewhat fortuitous red card in their favour, but failed to beat 10-man Crystal Palace – worrying: not just a fixture expected to yield three points towards the necessary total, but a win handed to a potential relegation rival. For although that Hammers home win had Hull 7th in the table, they are now 13th and only above the drop line by four points – equivalent to their harvest from the past two months.
Liverpool have higher-class problems. They may be second in the table but they're only sixth on form, and recent imperious Anfield displays have been tempered by mixed displays on the road – one away win since August is not the usual behaviour of title-tilters.
There's a suspicion that Brendan Rodgers isn't yet sure how best to utilise his three Mersey Derby scorers – Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho – in a formation sufficiently combining flexibility and solidity. Since beating Manchester United on the first day of September, the Reds have kept one clean sheet in nine games.
That said, goals have hardly flowed at the KC this season – six in six games, just two of them for visitors. The Tigers have never beaten Liverpool and it would be a surprise if they started now… unless Rodgers has a couple of men sent off.
Hull's slump has coincided with the absence of Sone Aluko and Robbie Brady; the latter, who only lasted a half against Crystal Palace, will hope to play a fuller part this week.
Liverpool will long be without knee-knacked left-back Jose Enrique. Iago Aspas will be back sooner, but not yet.
Player to watch: Jon Flanagan (Liverpool)
Despite being played out of position at left-back, Jon Flanagan excelled in last week's Mersey Derby: the top tackler with 9 won out of 14, plus a joint-top 4 interceptions and an impressive 8 ball recoveries (only Lucas Leiva managed more). Manager and captain praised the young Liverpudlian, who will have to curb the overlapping of Ahmed Elmohamady, one of Hull's key conduits this season.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Hull 0-0 L'pool (Prem, May 10)
- L'pool 6-1 Hull (Prem, Sep 09)
- Hull 1-3 L'pool (Prem, Apr 09)
- L'pool 2-2 Hull (Prem, Dec 08)
- L'pool 4-2 Hull (LC, Sep 99)
Steve Bruce had already managed nearly 500 times when Brendan Rodgers first took charge at Watford, and the two have only met once – Swansea 0-0 Sunderland in August 2011.
Both men are open to trying three at the back, but neither is expected to do so this weekend.
Facts and figures
- 75% (18/24) of the goals Liverpool have scored have been netted in the first half of games this season, the highest proportion in the English top flight.
More facts at FFT's Hull vs Liverpool Stats Zone page
Tips and trends
- Hull have kept 4 clean sheets in their 6 home games this season, with 5 of those 6 games providing less than 2 goals.
- City have opened the scoring on 4 occasions in their 6 home games.
- In their last stint in the Premier League, Hull lost 8 of 10 home games against top-six sides.
- Liverpool are the second-highest scorers in the league with Sturridge and Suarez providing 75% of their 24 goals.
- As a result there have been at least 3 goals in 16 of Liverpool’s previous 19 away games with 10 of their last 14 providing 4 or more.
Find the best odds with Bet Butler
The trends point to Liverpool scoring first, before half-time, from close range, and there not being much of interest thereafter. 0-1, Suarez.