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Into The Jungle: The Hull Preview

We go into the game against Hull, once again, with our backs against the wall. It's another must-win game, and players and fans alike know we need to be firing on all cylinders.

Paul Gilham

US: 10:00AM-NBC Sports

UK: 3:00PM- No Coverage Available

Brendan Rodgers' side face Hull needing three points to help move their season in the right direction. In the narrow win at Loftus Road last weekend the Reds looked flat for most of the game, and despite making small strides in that department against Real, they failed to take anything from the game.

There are no new injury concerns, but Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan, Suso, and Daniel Sturridge all remain out.

Everyone involved with the club can see that the defense needs improvement, and Brendan Rodgers took time in his press conference to remind us all that that the issue is being addressed.

One of the talking points has been whether or not to give Steven Gerrard a rest following two games in such quick succession, with Emre Can serving as a potential stand in. It's hard to say who'll get an opportunity this weekend, with Brendan looking likely to use Joe Allen more and more as he reaches full fitness. He looked lively when he came on as a substitute against QPR last week, and started against Real on Wednesday. Jordan Henderson was rested in the second half of the Madrid game after a comeback looked impossible, and he should be fit and ready for this game despite slight rumors that he'd picked up a knock in training.

Mario Balotelli is another conundrum that's splitting the fans opinions. Some are on his back, others view him as yet another scapegoat and have urged the rest to get behind him if we want to see the best of him.

Phillipe Coutinho has said that the pressure of being asked to create and score goals only helps to drive him, and he welcomes said pressure.

Hull come into this game just three points behind us, however they only have one win in their last six games. Steve Bruce's side are more than capable of a scalp though, and are always well geed up for a game of this magnitude. One can harken back to their 3-1 win over us last year, although that was at the KC Stadium.

Players like Abel Hernandez and Tom Huddlestone have performed well for Hull so far this year, though the latter is injured and, according to the Premier League's website, has only a 50% chance of playing.

Also amongst Hull's missing is former Everton striker Nikica Jelavic who has a knee injury, and Micheal Dawson, a summer signing from Spurs and who's been a real leader for them at the back. Hull are also set to start their third choice 'keeper, as both Alan McGregor and Steve Harper are also on the sidelines.

Still, Hull have more than enough healthy man power to scare Liverpool, with Mohamed Diame in red hot form following a summer move from West Ham, ex-Liverpool youngster Tom Ince, and on-loan Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, who've all put in good shifts this season.

It comes down once again to the midfield battles in this one, I think. Diame will be a handful for Jordan Henderson, while we'll most likely want Raheem Sterling to make his incisive runs from the wing into the middle and provide for Balo again.

Other thoughts:

-Balotelli's so preoccupied with getting that goal and getting the monkey off his back that it's effecting his decision making. However, he needs to stop thinking about what he needs to do and just play his game. Be himself. (Johnathan)

-Nah, Glen Johnson, I think you can stay home for this one mate. (Johnathan)

-Keep it tight. That's the defense's problem. In my opinion we're giving players too much time on the ball and too much space to work. It's time to get in their face. (Johnathan)

-Gerrard should sit this one out. Can, Hendo, and Allen in the midfield sounds good to me. (Dan)