Jonathan Davies has a look at three players who could do the damage for Liverpool today.
The Reds travel to the KC Stadium on this afternoon to try and forget their poor form of January in order to try and aid their bid to secure a Champions League spot. Liverpool sit in fourth place thanks to their superior goal difference over Manchester City after their impressive 4-0 win over struggling West Ham.
Even though Liverpool have had such poor form over the January period they still only sit one point off of second place Tottenham. This game at Hull is a must win, however, it will not be a pushover as some fans may think as Hull have secured some impressive results recently including a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the league cup semi-final, and the other night drawing with United 0-0 at Old Trafford.
They showed their defensive capabilities and how stubborn they can be to break down, something Liverpool have struggled to do over the past few weeks. Break teams down. However, with Sadio Mané hopefully returning to the starting line-up we will finally see the return of the ‘magic quad’ Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho and Mane, for the first time since we beat Watford 6-1 in November.
Who else to talk about than the anticipated return of our Magic Mané. After he missed the penalty in Senegal’s’ defeat to Cameroon in AFCON on Saturday night much has been said about what impact his return could make.
He found himself on he bench for the clash on Tuesday night against Chelsea, he came on around the 70th minute failing to make much of an impact which is understandable after only returning from Gabon the previous morning. Mané will most likely take the place of one of the midfielders; Can or Wijnaldum, that will see Lallana move back into midfield where he has been most effective this season.
Then we will see the RW position being taken up by Sadio. Mané will inject the pace back into the team which we have desperately needed over the past few weeks. His willingness to run at defenders and take them on will make a huge impact. His finishing will also be an asset to the Reds with Manébeing joint top goal scorer with Firmino if the Reds do score the source will no doubt come from Mané.
Roberto will be looking to continue his form prior to the splitting up of the magic quad. Although he has been in poor form over the past few games, aside from the Swansea game, he will be starting in his preferred false nine role on Saturday if Mané and Coutinho starts. This is no doubt where Firmino has been the most effective this season. And even though he has been in fairly poor form over the past few games he is joint top goal scorer with Mané. Firmino will be looking to use one of his best attributes, his pressing, to pressurise the Hull City backline and try and force them into a mistake. Firmino will hopefully be linking up to his Brazilian partner Coutinho on the weekend, hopefully, to cause some devastating effects.
Yes, all three of the players to watch are the predicted front three. I really want to see Liverpool full on blitz Hull today to put all of the negativity of the past month behind us, and if we want to do this we need the magician Coutinho to be on form. Coutinho has only recently come back from injury but now I want to see a return to his world-class form prior to his injury. It is fair to say that Coutinho has not been quite up to the standards we expect to be seeing from our main man but hopefully, he will score on Saturday to boost his confidence to what it was earlier in the season.
Prediction: Hull City 1-3 Liverpool (Abel) ( Coutinho, Mané Lallana)