Liverpool predicted XI v Hull City

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After a poor outing in the Champions League against Real Madrid on Wednesday night, Liverpool now return to domestic football and meet Steve Bruce's Hull City.

Just three points separate the two teams going into the clash. The Reds currently sit fifth in the Premier League, however that position very much flatters their performances this season. Brendan Rodgers' men have struggled to score goals, netting just 13 times in eight top flight games and needed the help of two own goals to see off QPR 3-2 at Loftus Road on Sunday.

Hull are positioned 11th in the table, on ten points, however they haven't had bad start at all. Losing just two games so far - one to Premier League holders Manchester City - and the Tigers have been playing some attractive football. Last Saturday, they almost clinched an epic win away to Arsenal, but Danny Welbeck's late strike to make it 2-2 meant that Bruce's men travelled back to Yorkshire with just one point.

Starting XI

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

Despite not having the best of seasons, the lack of competition at Anfield will likely see Mignolet start in the Liverpool goal once again.

Against QPR, he made some solid saves, the best of them all coming in the second half, when tipping Sandro's driving shot around the post. Likewise against Real Madrid on Wednesday, he epically saved from Cristiano Ronaldo with his legs midway through the second period.

However, the Belgian has been on the end of several mistakes. For Eduardo Vargas' second goal at Loftus Road, Mignolet was beaten far too easily at his near post from a corner - something that should never happen at any level.

His poor form continued against Madrid, when not punching a cross away well enough, having looked nervous when coming to collect the ball. That error lead to the Spanish side regaining possession in a dangerous area and Karim Benzema netted his first of the game. The 26-year-old was also partly to blame for Benzema's second strike, when attempting to clear a scrambling ball with his feet, instead of being brave and collecting with his hands.

Unfortunately, Brendan Rodgers does not have many options in the 'keeping department. Brad Jones is Liverpool's No. 2, however he is also a risk.

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Right-back - Glen Johnson

Johnson had the stiff task of marking Cristiano Ronaldo in mid-week and he didn't do all that bad. Despite the Portuguese star getting the better of him on many occasions, the England international did make some good challenges.

The former Chelsea man was not himself attacking wise, however one suspects it was because of the threat of Ronaldo, Benzema and James Rodriguez that made Johnson restrict himself. 

No offence to Hull, but he is up against a weaker opposition here. We should see him really supporting the Liverpool attacks, bombing up the right-wing that he likes to do so often.

Centre-back - Martin Skrtel

Skrtel, again, was poor against Madrid. His lack of communication for the first goal with partner Dejan Lovren was poor, with both losing the run of Ronaldo. Then, for the Spanish sides third, the Slovakian attempted to shepperd the ball back to his goalkeeper, instead of taking responsibility and getting rid.

Skrtel is Liverpool's most experienced defenders, and he needs to start taking charge of decisions. I won't be surprised if he does not start on Saturday, however, his form last season should just keep him his place.

Centre-back - Dejan Lovren

Much like Skrtel, Lovren is yet to rediscover his form from last season.

Last year at Southampton, he was so confident and controlled the Saints' defence. Since his £20 million move to Merseyside, Lovren has hidden in his shell. He was at fault for Madrid's first goal on Wednesday, when caught ball-watching and losing Cristano Ronaldo far too easily. 

The Croatian was brought in to be a leader at the back, but we still are yet to see this. He was a big price-tag and has to start repaying that fee. The one positive is that the experience against playing one of the world's best teams could massively benefit him and we could see an improvement. 

Left-back - Alberto Moreno

The Spaniard was Liverpool's best defender during the Champions League clash, and is become a fan-favourite at Anfield. Moreno is all heart, giving his all from the first to the final whistle.

He offered his support constantly against Madrid, driving down the left-wing and giving Liverpool the option of width. Seemingly, he enjoys linking up with Raheem Sterling and those two should continue their partnership. Moreno is so powerful when on the attack, really driving at defenders with pace that causes problems. We saw in his goal against Tottenham Hotspur, how good he is going forward.

His defending isn't bad, either, however one criticism is that he dives into tackles in unnecessary positions. If he cuts that out of his game, he will continue to become a top player.

Defensive-midfield - Emre Can

Can made his first start against QPR last weekend, and considering how long he's been out injured, the German put in a decent shift. 

Albeit, he was often having to defend, however he showed how powerful he was when dismissing several of Harry Redknapp's men and starting a Liverpool attack. He's just 20-years-old and  still needs to adapt to the English game. At home is the best place for him to start, and he can sweep up his side much like Nemanja Matic does at Chelsea.

He too, has excellent vision, as he showed at Bayer Leverkusen last term and with Liverpool having plenty of pace up top, his searching passes could create chances. Can also has the ability to get forward and can score goals. He runs at defenders with pace and power, and will have the cover from his fellow midfielders to let him do this.

Centre-midfield - Jordan Henderson

Again, on Wednesday, Henderson was one of the Liverpool players who had a better game than most.

You could see how hard the England international wanted to win, chasing the pairing of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos around for 90 minutes, and causing them to lose the ball on multiple occasions. Henderson also tried to start off Liverpool attacks, attempting through balls to Raheem Sterling a few times. They may have been cut out, however, his positive thinking has and will pay off again.

The former Sunderland man will have learnt a lot from the Madrid game. He's fast growing into the player all thought he would and he should be dominant in the midfield against Hull on Saturday. 

Centre-midfield - Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool captain has found himself playing a deeper role for the best part of a year on Merseyside. However, against Real Madrid, he struggled to get into the game. Gerrard dropped further back because he no longer had the legs to get forward, yet, against the Spanish side, he was constantly chasing the ball from side-to-side, doing the same running as if he was playing a more advanced role.

With Can offering protection, I can see Rodgers allowing Gerrard to get further forward. Liverpool originally lined up like this against QPR, however the 34-year-old took up his usual position in the second period. Nonetheless, Rodgers should not give up on this tactic and try it at home against Hull.

Against West Brom, with 15 minutes on the clock, the Whiston-native played in the number ten role and had huge success. He made some excellent runs and linked up well with Mario Balotelli up-top. Liverpool are missing a midfielder who can shoot outside the box and test goalkeepers. Too often, shots are either none existent or tame. 

If it does not work, the system can be changed, however it is worth a shot.

Left-wing - Philippe Coutinho

Despite a slow start this term, Coutinho looks to be finding his previous form. Nonetheless, he came on against QPR last weekend and changed the whole dynamic of the Liverpool side, being a real spark on the attack.

The Brazilian netted after a clever piece of trickery inside the home side's box to give Liverpool their second of the game, then hit an outstandingly-weighted pass to find Raheem Sterling that lead to the Reds' third. Against Madrid, Coutinho caused problems for Pepe and co. with his trickery and magnificent ball skills.

Hull have a decent defence, yet, the former Inter Milan man will relish a free-flowing role, and should link up well with his cohorts like his did so often last campaign.

Right-wing - Adam Lallana

Lallana has been Liverpool's best summer signing and has started brightly on Anfield. Despite not starting in the European tie on Wednesday, he came on at half-time and made a real impact.

The England international brought energy into the team, and inspired many of his team-mates. He has excellent balance on the ball, as well as vision and has adapted himself into the Liverpool team extremely well. 

He should again bring the energy and clever thinking when the Reds are on the attack.

Striker - Raheem Sterling

Mario Balotelli, once again had a poor game on Wednesday night. The Italian was substituted at half-time and Brendan Rodgers has been giving the impression he is losing patiences with him.

With Balotelli coming off, that saw Raheem Sterling go and take his role up top. Sterling, in the first-half, was Liverpool's best player as he attacked the Madrid defence with such venom. Up front, he didn't do badly, either, causing problems with his movement. 

Against QPR last Sunday, the youngster was directly involved in all three of Liverpool's goals, which shows just how important he is to the team.

For a first time leading the attack, the England starlet was very good. Sterling is so versatile and he should have no problems leading the Liverpool line, and his pace and quick feet should cause plenty of problems for the Hull defence.

Raheem Sterling
Premier League
Hull City
Steven Gerrard

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