What: English Premier League
Who: Hull City vs Liverpool
When: Sunday 1st December, 2013, at 14:05 UK Time
Where: KC Stadium, Hull, England
Hull Needing Boost
Steve Bruce will be aiming to get his side back to winning ways when Hull City host Liverpool in Premier League action. For Hull, this match will represent a huge test, especially in the wake of last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to relegation favourites Crystal Palace. Another defeat to Liverpool would not necessarily be seen as disastrous, but with away matches to Arsenal and Swansea to follow would perhaps become a bit less pleasant if points were not picked up soon.
In truth, Bruce’s side have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season which has included some key home wins against relegation rivals Norwich, West Ham and Sunderland. The biggest result was indeed the 3-2 victory away to Newcastle back in September. This has helped a team picked by many to be relegation material stay four points above the drop zone.There has been a dip in form in November with a lack of goals being the biggest issue. Bruce is set to buy come January as the team have struggled to find a consistent scorer.
Nine goals in twelve matches is the second worst attacking record in the league. The December fixture pile-up is near and a lack of goals then could prove extremely costly. It would be less attractive for a good striker to sign for a club battling against the drop though and Hull could still be in that area of the table by the new year should they continue to misfire.
Thrilling Derby Draw
Liverpool played their hand in the match of the season last weekend against Everton. It was a Merseyside derby that had everything from goals to breathless back and forth football to moments of controversy. In the end, the 3-3 scoreline was an accurate depiction of the day’s proceedings. Brendan Rodgers would have felt his side deserved more after taking the lead twice. However, a late Romelu Lukaku brace looked to have tilted the balance in Everton’s favour before Daniel Sturridge popped up with an equaliser.
While Hull can’t seem to find the net, Liverpool are having no issues in the goals department; the ‘SAS’ partnership of Sturridge and Luis Suarez has accounted for an amazing 18 of Liverpool’s 24 goals this season. The goalscoring form of their strikers and their fine home record have propelled them to second in the standings, not a minor feat for a club that were not expected to figure prominently this season in the title race.
While there is a long way to go, Liverpool are undoubtedly surprising observers with the results and performances. Champions League football remains the top priority and with the main men firing and the midfield and defence looking capable, this is shaping up to be a fine season for Rodgers and his men.
Hull 1-0 Sunderland (02/11; Premier League)
Southampton 4-1 Hull (09/11; Premier League)
Hull 0-1 Crystal Palace (23/11; Premier League)
Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool (02/11; Premier League)
Liverpool 4-0 Fulham (09/11; Premier League)
Everton 3-3 Liverpool (23/11; Premier League)
Hull: Paul McShane; Stephen Quinn; Sone Aluko
Liverpool: Jose Enrique; Daniel Sturridge (doubt)
Players to watch
Hull – Allan McGregor: The 31-year-old could be set to play in one his busiest matches of the season. Having played over 200 games for Rangers in addition to a season in Turkey last year with Besiktas, McGregor will not be fazed; even against the terrific attack that Liverpool possess. Vastly experienced and with a reputation as a solid goalkeeper, Hull will need McGregor to be at his best if they are to grab a result.
Liverpool – Jon Flanagan: The full-back was superb for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby against Everton and could well be given the vote by Rodgers again for this match. Flanagan is still proving his worth for his boyhood club and will not want to follow up a good display with a poor one. It remains to be seen just how far he can go, but a run of games will do the 20 year-old much good.
This match pits one side that can’t score against one that can’t stop. It sounds like Liverpool should walk away with this one, but Sturridge potentially out injured may complicate matters. And on closer inspection, the Reds will need to be wary against a Hull side that have shown they are capable in the top flight, especially at home. Hull can surprise and if they can keep Liverpool at bay for a half or so then they are in with a chance. That doesn’t change matters much though; the odds are on a comfortable Liverpool win. After a hard-fought 90 minutes, Liverpool should gain another important victory to maintain their top four status. Hull 1-2 Liverpool.
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