Thursday, September 24, 2009

Liverpool vs Hull: Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Premier League strugglers Hull City to Anfield on Saturday and I doubt many people out there are predicting anything other than a home win. Hull have just one win to their name so far in the league this season and look a very different side to the team who took the league by storm when they started their top-flight career in 2008.

After impressing against West Ham last weekend and easing past a very determined Leeds side in the Carling Cup, albeit with an under-strength squad, Rafa’s men should go into this one full of confidence. Fernando Torres put any questions over his form behind him with an impressive brace and I reckon it could be the start of a free-scoring run for the talented Spaniard. Torres should be able to add to his goal tally against Hull, from what I’ve seen of them this season they look extremely dodgy at the back and an inform Torres is not something they’ll be relishing!

Rafael Benitez has no new injury worries to think about. Alberto Aquilani (currently expected fit on October 4th) and Danny Agger (October 25th) are the only players sidelined but neither has played yet this season anyway. Benitez’s counterpart at Hull, Phil Brown, has a few more problems. The most notable absentees from the Tigers line up are Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee, who Hull have clearly been missing. The visitors also played a day later in the Carling Cup, with Liverpool playing on the Tuesday and Hull the Wednesday, which may work to the Reds advantage.

The key men for Liverpool will be their attacking players without a doubt. The likes of Torres, Steven Gerrad, Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera should see plenty of chances and will have to make sure they take them. Hull will be relying on trying to nick a goal on the counter and Javier Mascherano will have to be alert to that threat. The Tigers can also cause problems from set-pieces, which is where Jamie Carragher and the rest of the defence will have to be up to the challenge. However, the visitors do have a few danger men to be concerned about. US striker Jozy Altidore is a bit of an unknown quantity but from what I’ve seen of him he looks pretty good. Former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was highly rated in Scotland but it remains to be seen whether he can cut it in the Premier League, while Daniel Cousin is capable of scoring a goal or two. In midfield Stephen Hunt is probably their main threat and they do have players capable of causing problems.

Having said all that in no way would I consider betting on Liverpool to lose this one. Player for player they’re better than Hull all over the pitch and should comfortably see of the Tigers who have lost four of their six games this season. Liverpool’s win over West Ham was their third in a row and we could well be in the middle of an impressive winning streak, it could be the perfect time to play the floundering Tigers as Rafa and co go for their fourth win on the spin.

Hull surprised everyone last season when they upset the upset the Premier League relegation betting odds and avoided the drop. However, they have been absolutely shocking since the turn of the year and that slump shows no sign of ending. They have just two league wins to their name in 2009, against Fulham and Bolton, and on both occasions you could argue they were lucky to take all three points. Without sounding overly confident, this could be Liverpool’s easiest game of the season and I expect them to win comfortably.

1 comment:

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