M
TS
Monday, September 23
Collect News Data

Premier League

/esi/1339/6_G_1_76179/index.html?art_id=356800&game_id=76179&sport_id=1&ESI

Preview: Cardiff City vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Cardiff City vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between relegation-threatened Cardiff City and title-chasing Liverpool.
By , Editor | 5mo

Liverpool's quest for a first top-flight title since 1990 takes them to South Wales on Easter Sunday as they face a Cardiff City side fighting for their Premier League lives.

The hosts go into the weekend with a two-point lead at the top of the table, whereas Cardiff are two points adrift of safety at the other end of the standings.


Cardiff


Cardiff boss Neil Warnock has suggested that he is fearful of a "battering" at the hands of Sunday's opponents, but in private he may be much more optimistic about their chances of getting something from the game.

Any side battling against relegation can be a dangerous proposition, and Cardiff go into this weekend off the back of perhaps their most significant result of the season.

Defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday would have left Cardiff eight points adrift of safety with four games of their season remaining and surely therefore facing the inevitability of an immediate return to the Championship.

However, a 2-0 win at the Amex instead saw them close the gap to two points, leaving hope of an Easter resurrection for a team which began the campaign as huge favourites to suffer relegation.

The prospect of toppling Liverpool is a lot easier said than done, though - even with momentum behind them - and should they manage it then there is still plenty of work to be done to secure their Premier League status for another season.

Cardiff have played a game more than Brighton and still have to face Manchester United as well as Liverpool in their final four games - a particular concern considering they have picked up only two points from the 66 on offer against the six ever-present Premier League clubs.

Brighton also have a difficult run-in with four of their final five games coming against teams in the top eight, but the onus is on Cardiff to pick up points and they may need at least two more good results to stay in the top flight.

The fact that Sunday's match comes at the Cardiff City Stadium rather than Anfield certainly boosts the hosts' hopes of coming away with something, but it hasn't all been plain-sailing for the Bluebirds in front of their own fans this term, with both Manchester clubs and Watford scoring five goals on their league visits.

No team in Premier League history has ever shipped five or more goals on four separate occasions in a season, but Cardiff welcome a dangerous Liverpool attack knowing that they have the worst home defensive record in the entire league.

Ultimately anything other than defeat would be a bonus this weekend, and Warnock may even have one eye on the upcoming matches against Fulham and Crystal Palace as the more realistic opportunities to make a late escape.

Recent Premier League form: LWLLLW


Liverpool


With the prospect of a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona looming, Jurgen Klopp used his pre-match press conference to ensure that Liverpool remain focused on the tests that are coming up before that.

Neither are particularly glamorous, with a home game against rock-bottom Huddersfield Town following Sunday's trip to Wales, but to supporters who have been pining for a top-flight title since 1990 they may just be even more important.

Any slip-up at this stage of the season is likely to be fatal to any title hopes, but the Reds have done a good job at avoiding those against bottom-half teams so far this season, winning 49 points from the 51 on offer in such matches so far.

Liverpool have also won each of their last nine league games against promoted teams, scoring 27 goals and conceding just three in the process, and another triumph this weekend would set a new club-record for such games.

Klopp will naturally be wary of both complacency and Cardiff's need for victory too, although they go into the match off the back of five successive Premier League wins and eight in a row across all competitions - another would make it their best run since April 2014.

That run infamously came to an end at home to Chelsea - Steven Gerrard's slip and all - but the Reds prevented the same fixture from derailing their title challenge this time around courtesy of a rousing 2-0 win in their most recent top-flight outing, enough to take them back to the top of the Premier League table.

Liverpool have already surpassed their final points tally from that 2013-14 campaign and only need a draw to equal their best-ever Premier League return with three games of the season still to go after this weekend.

However, the fact remains that things are still out of Klopp's hands and his side could remarkably end the season with 97 points but still miss out on the title should Manchester City - who renew hostilities with Champions League conquerors Tottenham on Saturday - also record a perfect finale to the campaign.

Liverpool must wait and hope for a Man City slip-up, which on paper looks most likely to occur over the coming week when they face Spurs and Manchester United in the space of only four days.

It could therefore be a fateful week for the 18-time champions of England, although they must still take care of their end, and regardless of what happens at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Sunday's contest is another must-win one for Liverpool.

Recent Premier League form: DWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW


Team News


Liverpool are expected to welcome Roberto Firmino back into their starting XI after he was left out in midweek, although he did come on as a half-time sub and was amongst the goals in Portugal.

Firmino will return to an in-form front three, with Mohamed Salah needing just one more goal to become only the third Liverpool player to score 20 times in successive Premier League campaigns and Sadio Mane having netted 10 times in his last 12 league outings.

There could be changes in midfield with Jordan Henderson pushing for a recall and Naby Keita also in contention, although Fabinho will be confident of keeping his spot while Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and Adam Lallana could provide further competition.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still unavailable as he continues to work his way back to match fitness, but Joe Gomez could be given some much-needed minutes having recently returned from an injury of his own.

Cardiff, meanwhile, are still without Harry Arter due to a calf problem, while Sol Bamba, Callum Paterson and Matthew Connolly will all miss the remainder of the season.

Aron Gunnarsson could start should he pass a late fitness test on his back spasms, and Warnock is unlikely to make any major changes to his side following Tuesday's win.

Cardiff possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Ralls; Mendez-Laing, Camarasa, Hoilett; Niasse

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane


Head To Head

Cardiff have not beaten Liverpool for 60 years, stretching back to a 4-0 Division Two triumph in December 1959 which was particularly notable as it was Bill Shankly's first game in charge.

The Reds have a 100% record in their three previous Premier League meetings with Cardiff, and another triumph on Sunday would set a new club record for the fixture.

The reverse fixture at Anfield in October saw Liverpool cruise to a 4-1 win, with Mane on the scoresheet twice, while their last away game against Cardiff saw them run out 6-3 victors.



We say: Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool

Forget the league positions - this will not be a straightforward game for Liverpool. Cardiff are certain to make themselves difficult to beat, but at some stage they need to start taking some risks too, and that should suit Liverpool.


body check tags ::
amp_article_356800 : Collect and Make Data not in DataBase  : 
last updated article - 2019-04-20 09:34:04:
html db last update - 2019-09-22 06:44:25 :

ex - 7200 : read : write cache and make html

Share this article now:

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
UC
Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
UC
Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
X

We value your privacy

A part of our GDPR compliance we need to ask for your consent. We and our partners use technology such as cookies on Sports Mole to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on Sports Mole.