Liverpool play their 6th league game and their second at Anfield this Saturday afternoon against Hull City.
Hull have had a good start to their first season back in the league and are just a win behind the reds in the league - currently sitting in 12th position with 7 points.
Even though it's early days in the season all the Premier League big hitters have all made decent starts - unlike last season.
Both Merseyside and Manchester clubs, as well as the big three London clubs occupy the top 7 positions in the table.
With Arsenal facing Chelsea, and United playing last season's title winners Leicester - a win could help the reds end the weekend inside the top four.
Hull have ongoing issues off the field with caretaker boss Mike Phelan seeking some job security amidst a backdrop of the club's owners hoping, and so far failing, to sell the club. A proposed takeover by a Chinese firm fell through after they were believed to have failed a Premier League test.
Hull so far
Hull began the season by beating the Champions. A fine start. They won 2-1 against Leicester at home - Diomande and Snodgrass grabbing the goals either side of half time.
An away win at Swansea followed with two goals in the final 12 minutes separating the sides.
An injury time winner by Man Utd left them deflated in their next game and they then picked up a point at Burnley - something the reds failed to do back in August.
They were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Arsenal last weekend - but playing the game with 10 men for almost an hour may have had a big impact on the scoreline. They were only 1-0 down when Jake Livermore was sent off in the 40th minute.
Amongst all this they have, like Liverpool, won two away games in the League Cup to reach the 4th round. They beat Premier League opposition again this week - knocking Stoke City out of the cup.
Jurgen Klopp has been pleased with Liverpool's progress so far this season. The reds have lost one competitive game out of 7. Last Friday night they beat Chelsea, giving manager Antonio Conte a taste of league defeat at home for the first time in 3 years.
Liverpool have a number of selection dilemma's for the weekends game. Daniel Sturridge may not have had long enough to train following a minor injury after the Chelsea game. Coutinho's mid-week exploits (1 goal and 2 assists) give the manager more difficulty with both Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana ready to return. Wijnaldum should replace Lucas - whilst Emre Can is building up his recovery.
Meanwhile more debate at the back.
Ragnar Klavan took advantage of Lovren having a mid-week rest by scoring the first goal of the game - and Loris Karius kept a clean sheet in his debut for the reds.
Plenty of decisions for the manager to make this weekend.
Klopp on the game
Jurgen Klopp was asked how the reds would approach the game.
“We need to be ready for each game, maximum concentrated, greedy, kind of angry, all of the stuff you need at the highest level of sport. We have to be angry against Hull because they want our points – that makes me angry so it’s easy for me.
"We have to learn: to take the games as they are, we cannot rate or value teams before the games and say ‘against them it should be easy’. No football game is easy. Why should it be like that against a team people think we are stronger than? That’s a process we have to learn.”
Hull have proven their ability to get results against Premier League sides already this season. Going away from home does not seem to trouble them either - they are unbeaten in their 5 away games in all competitions.
Liverpool meanwhile are prone to the odd lapse in concentration when not playing the 'bigger' games.
However, the reds have got players returning from fitness and when the teamsheet is put out on Saturday there will be players on the bench who are in good form and can consider themselves unluckly to miss out. Coutinho, Mane, Lallana, Sturridge, Firmino, Origi can't all fit in to the starting line up.
We think this increased competitiveness will help the reds over the line but it won't be a stroll in the park.
Anfield Online Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Hull City
As expected Liverpool are favourites at 1/4. Hull's odds, even as a Liverpool fan, look wild at 14/1. They do not look like a side heading back out the Premier League so there will be Hull fans fancying that price.
Our 2-1 prediction is priced at 9/1 - returning £100 from a £10 stake if it comes in.
Liverpool's centre halves have opened the scoring in the last two games with goals coming at the end of a free kick and a corner.
Maybe the trend will continue. Matip first scorer and 2-1 would return £1,310 from a £10 bet (130/1).
Sadio Mane first scorer and 3-0 is 16/1.
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