Liverpool take on Reading on Saturday with manager Brendan Rodgers looking to build some momentum after an, at best, stuttering start to the season. The Reds looked to have kick-started their campaign with a 5-2 win at Norwich for their first victory in the Premier League, but then followed that up with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Stoke.
Rodgers has succeeded in getting his new side to begin moving toward a heavily possession-based game plan, but their performances have been undermined by problems in both penalty areas. All too often there have been critical individual errors at the back that have more often than not been punished by their opponents.
Liverpool’s problems at the other end of the pitch have already been widely discussed and appear unlikely to get better anytime soon. Already struggling for numbers in attack after failing to bring in a forward to replace Andy Carrroll on the final day of the transfer window, Liverpool’s problems have been exacerbated by an injury suffered by Fabio Borini on international duty with Italy’s Under-21s. With Borini out for three months, the dependency on Luis Suarez to both help create and finish off chances is only increased further, to an almost alarming degree.
One of the great positives of Rodgers’ reign to date has been his faith in the club’s young players and they are likely to be called upon again on Saturday.
Jose Enrique could be back from a knee injury, though, although his fellow Spaniard Pepe Reina faces a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.
After a difficult start to the season on their return to the Premier League, Reading appear to have started to find their feet in recent weeks. Having recorded their first win of the campaign over Queens Park Rangers, Reading held leads against both Newcastle and Swansea before eventually being forced to settle for a point.
The Royals are likely to again be without goalkeeper Adam Federici, although Noel Hunt and Mikele Leigertwood should recover from their injuries.
D: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
M: Gerrard, Allen, Sahin
F: Suso, Suarez, Sterling
D: Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Shorey
M: Kebe, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff
F: Hunt, Pogrebnyak
Prediction: While Liverpool have been able to take little for granted this season, this looks to be a game that should allow them to build up confidence ahead of the Merseyside derby at Everton next week. As long as they can take enough of the chances they look likely to create then they will get the win, although it may not be exactly comfortable.
Liverpool 2-1 Reading
Where to watch: The Premier League clash kicks-off at 10 a.m. A live stream will be available on FoxSoccer2Go.