Back to the Fortress: Liverpool v. Cardiff City Match Preview

Hehe - Jan Kruger

Cardiff get their first crack at Liverpool since falling to the Reds in the 2012 Carling Cup final.

Liverpool sit at their highest point in years, while Cardiff City have fallen into a state of organizational turmoil. The whole week since the Spurs win has left us all in the clouds with delight, looking ahead to City and Chelsea as the next two dragons that Liverpool can potentially slay. However, let's hope that the players are focused on the task at hand. The match tomorrow is essential for keeping the pace, and a win could boost Liverpool all the way to first place on goal differential if Chelsea beat Arsenal in what should be the match of the weekend.

The main TV storyline will certainly be Cardiff's owner Vincent Tan, who seems to have lost it (once again) after manager Malky Mackay told fans that he would try and bring in reinforcements in the January window. Reportedly, Tan told Mackay that if he didn't resign immediately he would be fired. Mackay skipped his Friday news conference, and there's a good chance that he'll be looking for a new job by the end of the weekend. Cardiff fans are understandably unhappy with their owner, and they've come together to back their coach, who has brought them to the Premier League for the first time in their long club history. Liverpool fans know about bad ownership from the previous regime, so the struggles of the Cardiff fans surely resonate with the Anfield faithful.

Luis Suarez, who just signed a contract extension, is on 17 goals and will be hopeful of a couple more against the visiting Bluebirds (who now rather amusingly wear red). Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling are coming off perhaps the best matches of their Liverpool careers, and will have a perfect chance to keep it going against the EPL's 15th place squad.

The lineup shouldn't change much from the one that battered Spurs, although Rodgers might look to rest a few players ahead of the City match. It would make some sense to use Coutinho as a substitute and start Luis Alberto, but that's about as likely as United being above Liverpool before the end of the calendar year. As for the back line, a change would come as a surprise even with Daniel Agger likely unhappy with his bench role.

Transfer rumors are swirling and more big matches are on the horizon. We all want to buy into this team, to allow our expectations to rise once again. This is another chance for the Reds to prove that they're different now, and that their success can be sustained. It would be so 2011 of them to fall on their faces here, and I don't think I can handle that again.

Additional Thoughts:

-An early goal sure would be nice (loyal2reds)

-I'm cautiously confident going into this game, like all matches. However, it's over-confidence that could kill us, like in the Southampton & Hull matches, that was our problem. We need to avoid this, whether you call it "a trap game" or a "banana skin", that's what it is. (JAceKopite16)

-That's been our biggest problem for lord knows how long, being inconsistent, and our consistency at the moment could go straight out the window if we don't win here. So like against Spurs, an early goal is crucial. (JAceKopite16)

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