Liverpool vs. Cardiff City
Venue: Anfield Stadium
Kick off: 3PM
Liverpool head into their Premier League clash with Cardiff City this afternoon looking to extend their unbeaten run in the top flight to 10 games and move three points clear of Manchester City.
Cardiff make the trip to Anfield keen to build on last weekend’s 4-2 triumph over Fulham, a result which moved the Bluebirds out of the relegation zone.
Liverpool have been criticised for some of their performances this season, and there has been justification in that with the Merseyside giants having gone on a run which included just three goals from five outings in all competitions.
However, that period featured two fixtures with Chelsea and showdowns with Napoli and Manchester City, and Jurgen Klopp’s team have come out of that tough schedule with a hard-fought victory over Huddersfield Town and an easy triumph against Red Star Belgrade.
Only time will tell whether Liverpool will return to their best on a consistent basis, but they currently sit joint-top of the Premier League table and above Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League group.
Klopp will be demanding an improvement in the final third of the pitch, but the German is aware that the firepower to launch a challenge on both the domestic and European scene is at his disposal and he will not be losing sleep over their recent results.
Liverpool have registered three clean sheets in a row in all competitions, but perhaps the biggest plus point from the last few outings is Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both getting themselves back among the goals.
Salah had gone almost a month without finding the back of the net until contributing the only goal of the game at Huddersfield – which was followed up with a double in midweek – while five weeks had passed when Firmino ended his goal drought on Wednesday night.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge have started to show Klopp that he does not have to rely on his tried-and-trusted front three, but there will be a sense of relief that they have started to show a greater cutting edge in the final third.
Liverpool are well-fancied to come out on top today, but there is perhaps extra pressure on Klopp’s side to take advantage of an easier fixture on paper with a trip to Arsenal to follow next Sunday.
Liverpool possible XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Cardiff City possible XI: Etheridge, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett, Camarasa, Gunnarsson, Arter, Murphy, Reid, Paterson.