US: 10:00 am on NBC's Premier League Extra Time
UK: 3:00 pm Not televised
Liverpool's defeat to Hull, a team that had been beaten by Crystal Palace the previous week, was one of the more disappointing defeats of the season. The three points dropped there are keeping the Reds at the back of the pack right now and may come back to haunt them. Liverpool will be looking to set things right this time when Hull come to Anfield for a New Years Day clash that is exactly one month to the day since their disappointing defeat at the KC Stadium.
Liverpool are coming off two disappointing defeats to City and Chelsea. While it certainly isn't the end of the world losing those matches as they are very tough to win away and back to back during the festive season, the points dropped are massive. Now Liverpool sit fifth after being first at Christmas; that's how tight this race is.
As for Hull, make no bones about it, they have been playing very well as of late. They went up 2-0 on United before some how blowing it and losing 2-3 and they also just tore apart Fulham (not a difficult task this season) 6-0 and Steve Bruce has them sitting in 10th. That's no small feat for a team many saw as a very likely to go right back down. Luckily for them, they didn't pick up too many injuries and should have their normal starting compliment.
Liverpool on the other hand are the walking wounded. They come into this with an injury list longer than Santa's naughty list. Right now, it looks like Henderson, Allen, Sakho, Flanagan, Flanagan's mole, Gerrard, Sturridge and Enrique will all miss the clash although Henderson looks like he might be fit. In addition, Rodgers stated Gerrard could play against Hull as well. However, it might be prudent to give him one more week. Contrary to earlier reports, Johnson was not injured and was only subbed as a "tactical" decision. Unfortunately, he'll likely start; he looks a man who needs a day off.
I said before that Liverpool would need 3 of 6 from the Chelsea and City matches. Getting 0 of 6 makes these three points even more vital as now Spurs and United are within striking distance, only 2 points off Liverpool.
Prediction: 3-1 to Liverpool. The defense is still leaky and Skrtel must have some naked pictures of Rodgers or something so I'm sure he'll start which will mean Hull will likely get one. Hull were a bit lucky to get 3 last time as 2 of them came from deflections, but I can't see Liverpool keeping a clean sheet.
Our pre-match thoughts:
-The fixtures get a bit easier after this and should be considered must wins. After Hull, we have Oldham (FA Cup), Stoke, Villa and then the Merseyside Derby return leg. (Adam)
-Liverpool's midfield was completely overrun by Chelsea who consistently cut it open through the middle. The inability to push the play wide put the defense under a lot of pressure. (Adam)
-Due to all of the injuries, everything except for the back four kind of picks itself. Liverpool are desperate to win, and I think this will push them to victory. (loyal2reds)
-Agger is the obvious choice in the center to come in for Sakho, and hopefully Flanno will be fit to play on his birthday. (JAceKopite)
-With Allen out and Stevie just coming back, I'd give Alberto a shot. Maybe play him behind Suarez.