Matthew Sinton previews Liverpool’s clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday.
On the back of two particularly disappointing results in the Premier League, Liverpool travel to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, where they will be hoping to put things right. Without our best player, Philippe Coutinho, we have still been scoring goals, with Divock Origi scoring four in his last four games.
The issue has been the defensive side of things, more specifically the goalkeeper. With Joel Matip back in the team and Middlesbrough being the lowest scoring team in the Premier League this season, Karius will be hoping he doesn’t have too much to do in this midweek fixture. It is expected that Klopp will persevere with him, so we should try to forget about his errors in the past couple of weeks and continue to get behind him, although I can understand the fans’ frustration at the moment.
Although they shouldn’t pose too much threat going forward, we shouldn’t count this as an easy fixture. Despite being the league’s lowest scorers, their strength has been in defence. They’ve conceded the least goals in the bottom half of the table with 16, which is actually less than our twenty. We could struggle to break them down, especially away from home, but I think we’ll have enough going forward to win the game. The players should be hungry for a victory after two disappointing results, so hopefully that’ll add to it.
I get that everyone was angry about the last two games, and so was I, but we’ve still got a lot to be positive about. Nobody was expecting a title challenge at the start of the season and most would have taken our current position straight away. We’re still in third place, six points from top and with a four-point cushion in the top four. If May comes around and we get top four – and maybe even a League Cup or FA Cup Trophy – I’ll look back on this season very fondly. Our aim is to get back into the Champion’s League and should we win this game, we’ll still be well on course to achieve that.
There shouldn’t be much to do in terms of team selection. Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can should still be out until the Merseyside derby at least, and Coutinho won’t be back until at least the Man City game at Anfield. I expect that the only change will be Ragnar Klavan to come in for the injured Lovren, but Klopp will otherwise name an unchanged team from Sunday. Of course, I’m tipping us to win but I won’t do a score prediction -I’m always wrong. Let’s just hope it’s a good game and that we come away with three points. Come on, Reds!