Reds to win with Sadio Mane to score first 5/1 with Betfair
Hull City face Liverpool at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday and this game, like most of the Tigers’ games since Marco Silva took over last month, it may not be as one-sided as expected. Our tip here is draw the Reds to win with Sadio Mane to score first.
It is hard to make a real prediction about Hull right now, given their new manager and eight new signings in the January transfer window. Despite the sales of Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass, two stars of the first half of the season, Hull’s chances of staving off relegation have increased markedly since the Portuguese took over.
Since his first Premier League victory over Bournemouth, Silva has instilled a new level of organisation, meaning Hull were able to frustrate Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for long periods before Wednesday’s impressive 0-0 draw at Old Trafford against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Liverpool, though, will offer a different challenge. Both United and Chelsea are known for defensive strength, but the Reds, under the eccentric Jurgen Klopp play with much more attacking intensity, flair and movement. Although they have not been in great form in early 2017, coinciding with Mane’s absence with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations, when on top form they are arguably the best team in the Premier League going forward.
Without Mane, Liverpool were all too often bereft of an outlet to hit team out wide, but his return is timely. The Reds were back to something close to their best in spells in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield. Although Roberto Firmino has had off-field issues, he is likely to lead the line.
Unlike any team in the league, they attack without a specific focal point. While Mane will stretch the play, Firmino will drop into midfield, which creates space for Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho to cause problems. Hull’s defenders, Curtis Davies and recent loan signing from Inter Andrea Ranocchia both have impressive physical presences, meaning they are more capable of marking taller strikers. Liverpool’s movement and close ball control will both create and exploit space in key areas.
It is important that, when the Liverpool players drift around, the Hull defence and midfield know who they are marking. If not, then it could be a long afternoon.
The home side cannot afford a repeat of their start against Bournemouth, when they conceded very early. It has been a theme of the Cherries’ season to surrender control of games at times, but with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum offering much needed balance in the middle of the pitch at all times. Hull must attempt to slow the game down as much as possible, because coming out of the blocks too fast will only leave more space for Liverpool.
Hull will be without Lazar Markovic, who is only loan from the Reds and cannot face his parent club. Their main hope lies with getting the ball into the striker, most likely Oumar Niasse, but Abel Hernandez could also start, providing the option of runs in behind against a high line. Evandro, another January signing, will be vital too, with his delivery from set pieces a weapon worth using.