Jürgen Klopp’s men follow up a comfortable Champions League victory against Red Star with another game at Anfield, this time against 17th placed Cardiff City. With the match against Neil Warnock’s men fast approaching, here are five major talking points ahead of the clash.
Will Fabinho be given the chance to build on impressive outing?
Fabinho is a player who has been short of time on the pitch so far this season. He was given his 2nd start on Wednesday against Red Star and he performed brilliantly. A massive nine tackles and a 90% passing accuracy represented a fantastic outing for the summer arrival. Klopp was full of praise for him after the game: Very good. The present for his birthday was not that he was in the line-up, it was that we played his favourite system with the double 6! He played really well, good to see, very aggressive, everything was there.” He and the vast majority of Reds will be hoping he is rewarded with another start on Saturday against a Cardiff side that, for the most part, haven’t been great in attack this season. Having said that, they did smash four past an albeit leaky Fulham side in their last fixture. If Fabinho is given the chance to build on Wednesday’s performance, don’t put it past him to have another stellar day.
Will Salah continue upturn in form?
After a tough start to the season, Mo Salah finally looks to turning things around. A winning goal against Huddersfield followed by a double against Red Star means it’s three goals in two games for Salah. A lot has been made of his start to the season and many have doubted whether he can repeat his heroics from last season. A game against a Cardiff side who have conceded 19 goals in their first 9 games presents Salah with an opportunity to further silence any of his doubters.
Can Firmino end poor goalscoring form?
One particularly surprising stat is that Roberto Firmino has only 2 PL goals in his last 13 PL games, dating back to the end of last season. Whilst his game accounts for much more than simply goalscoring, it is quite a poor record for the Brazilian, who netted 27 goals last season, making him Liverpool’s second top scorer behind Mohamed Salah. Similarly to the Egyptian, a game against Neil Warnock’s side is a perfect opportunity to turn things around and add to his goal tally against a leaky Bluebirds defence. Expect the Brazil forward to be fired up and ready to end his poor form in front of goal on Saturday.
Can Cardiff achieve their first Premier League victory over Reds?
It’s a second season in the Premier League for Welsh side Cardiff City. They were, of course, last here in an infamous season for Liverpool in which they came within touching distance of the title. The two fixtures that these two played out in 2013/14 were quite the spectacle. A 3-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield in December 2013 was followed by an enthralling 6-3 away at Cardiff in the reverse fixture. However, if you delve deeper into the past records of the two clubs, it is actually Cardiff who come out on top, with 18 wins compared to Liverpool’s 12, dating all the way back to their first encounters in the 1921/22 season, with both sides winning their home fixture. Whilst Klopp will be hoping that Premier League history repeats itself in this fixture, Warnock will be hoping his players can be inspired by Cardiff’s past success in this fixture.
Can Reds seize opportunity to put pressure on rivals?
Saturday’s game presents a massive opportunity for Liverpool to put some pressure on their title rivals after a tough run in for the Reds. While Liverpool kick off on Saturday at 3pm, Manchester City and Spurs play each other at Wembley on Monday Night Football. Chelsea, meanwhile, play Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday at 1:30. This means that Liverpool could be top of the league at least until Chelsea’s game on Sunday if they can get past Cardiff. No mean feat, but it’s a superb opportunity to put some pressure on three of their title rivals ahead of difficult games. Liverpool will travel to Arsenal next, making victory against the Bluebirds imperative if Klopp’s side are to sustain a title challenge.