Jack Hallows brings you all the stats and team news ahead of the crunch clash against Middlesbrough alongside, of course, his score prediction.
The Reds obliterated Middlesbrough back in December when they travelled to the Riverside, professionally dismantling them 3-0 courtesy of two goals from Adam Lallana and one from Divock Origi. Same again on Sunday? Let’s hope so!
Roberto Firmino is once again a doubt for this match with the Brazilian missing team training all week but Jürgen Klopp wasn’t in any mood to rule him out just yet during his pre-match press conference.
Klopp’s exact words on the forward were “very positive… I would rather say yes but I’m not sure.” However, given how well the Sturridge/Origi partnership played on Sunday Klopp may not be too worried if he cannot make it. Mané, Henderson and Ings are the only other expected injury absentees.
The visitors are expected to still be missing ex-Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes who is yet to recover from a rib injury while attacking midfielder Gastón Ramírez is their only other notable absentee. Daniel Ayala and Adlène Guedioura are also out with injury.
Premier League Form Guide (Most Recent First)
Liverpool – WWLWDW
It’s looking good for the Reds, I have to say. One loss in our last six matches does not make for bad reading whatsoever and it’s made even more impressive when you look back and see we’ve only dropped points in four games since the start of March.
It was also nice to see a break in the ‘grind out results’ mantra we’ve adopted of late last weekend when we well and truly put West Ham to the sword and I’m desperately hoping we come out and play with the same positivity against Middlesbrough this weekend.
Of course, everyone’s going to point to our record against sides in their part of the table but let’s be real here. We haven’t played against a single team placed in the top six since our 1-1 draw with Manchester City and in that time we’ve played eight league games, winning five, drawing two and losing just the one.
If the Anfield crowd can put aside their nerves and really sing, chant and get behind the team for the full 90 minutes on Sunday I have no doubts our good form will continue.
Middlesbrough – LLDWLL
Meanwhile, for Middlesbrough, it’s been a case of getting stuck up shit creek without a paddle for much of the season. While they did recently hold Manchester City to a 2-2 draw at the Riverside and put up a valiant fight against Arsenal to keep the damage to a 2-1 loss, they’ve only won one Premier League game this calendar year when they beat dead last Sunderland 1-0.
Previously their defensive form had been earning them a lot of points courtesy of 0-0 draws but of late even that’s subsided fairly rapidly and they’ve conceded 13 goals in their last six games, managing just the one shutout.
Liverpool have won each of their last four Premier League matches against Middlesbrough at Anfield, scoring at least two goals on each occasion and in the reverse fixture this season ran riot in a ‘routine’ 3-0 victory at the Riverside.
The Reds will be hoping to continue their Anfield dominance on Sunday and if the statistics are anything to go by then they really should do. The 14 games played at Anfield between the two in the Premier League have seen Liverpool win 10 and Middlesbrough leave with a share of the points on just 4 occasions. The Reds average possession is far superior – 57/43 – while their goal difference of +22 is also encouraging.
They’re already relegated so let’s just hope ‘Boro take a leaf out of West Ham’s book and fall away after the opening half an hour.
If the Reds can get an early goal then for me, that’ll be game over. Middlesbrough started the season strong in defence, keeping their goals against column impressively vacant but have struggled in the latter stages of this season to keep one from becoming two, two from becoming three and so on.
If Liverpool go out playing positive football and manage to score an early goal or two then all they’ll have to do is keep themselves switched on and the three points should be secured.