On February fourth, Hull City will host Liverpool at the KCOM Stadium. Both teams are coming off credible draws, but need to start winning games if they are to achieve their goal for the season.
Hull hung on for a 0-0 draw away to Manchester United thanks to an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović. A point at Old Trafford is always a fantastic result, but Hull do remain four points inside the relegation zone with only 17 points from 23 matches. If they are going to escape the drop, they’ll need to start winning games soon. Liverpool are hardly the easiest team to beat, but they have been in some poor form, without a win in the league since New Year’s Eve. It’ll still be a tough match for Hull, but this is about as good a time to play Liverpool as there has been all year.
As mentioned above, Liverpool have had a difficult time winning games recently. Their only win in the month of January was 1-0 win in an FA Cup replay against League Two side Plymouth Argyle. After being second and only six points off top at the turn of the year, Liverpool find themselves fourth and 10 points off the top spot. The Reds have no margin for error if they want to win the title and may start worrying for their place in the top four at the end of the season.
Hull’s squad has lacked quality all season, but they’ve also been battered by injuries. This week is no different as they’ll be without seven players through injury. Curtis Davies, Ryan Mason, Will Keane, Markus Henriksen, Greg Luer, Moses Obubajo, and Brian Lenihan all out with significant injuries, according to Physioroom.com.
With Sadio Mane back from the African Cup of Nations and Phillippe Coutinho back from injury, Liverpool have a mostly full squad to travel to the KCOM. They will be without squad players Danny Ings and Marko Grujic as they both recover from major knee and groin injuries respectively, according to Physioroom.com.
Hull City: Harry Maguire
Hull haven’t had many players stand out this season, but, with Robert Snodgrass gone, Harry Maguire is probably the one Hull player left that has improved his reputation this year. The 23 year old has put in some fantastic performances at the back for Hull. He has also developed a reputation for being good with the ball at his feet, as his 1.4 successful dribbles per 90 minutes lead all Premier League centre-backs with at least 1000 minutes played, according to Whoscored.com. If Hull are going to get anything from this match they will have to hold strong at the back, and Maguire will be key to that.
Liverpool: Sadio Mane
When Sadio Mane went away for the African Cup of Nations, Liverpool fans wondered how much the team would miss him. It turns out they missed him a lot. Since he left after the 2-2 draw against Sunderland, Liverpool have one win, three draws, and four losses in all competitions. Mane has been one of Liverpool’s most dangerous attacking threats all season and they’ll need him to reintegrate immediately if they have any chance of winning the title.
Liverpool have been struggling, but they should win this one. Hull are still a talent deprived side and will likely struggle against a Liverpool team desperate for a win.
Prediction: 3-1 Liverpool