Liverpool v Cardiff City - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 21st December 2013 at 12:45. Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.

Odds: Liverpool 2/9, Draw 6/1, Cardiff City 14/1

Last season: N/A

Preview & injury news

Liverpool could go top of the table if they manage to overcome Cardiff at Anfield this Saturday lunchtime as they look for their fourth consecutive league victory – and build on the 14 goals they have scored in their previous three games. Luis Suarez is to thank for over half of them.

So far this season Liverpool’s home form has been very good, with the loss to Southampton in September the only blot on their Anfield copybook so far this season, and they come up against a Cardiff City side that has only won the one game on the road this term. However having won last time out against West Bromwich Albion they will have a bit of confidence with the side currently sat in 15th place having taken 17 points from 16 games, four points above the drop zone.

On the injury front it isn’t all sweetness and light for the Reds as Rodgers has said that only 19 players fit including youngsters Jordon Ibe and Tiago Ilori [though Ibe picked up an injury in the Under-18's Youth Cup win at Blackpool]. Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Jose Enrique are the most notable absentees for the Reds, with all of them expected back in the New Year, Enrique perhaps the latest of the trio in February as he recovers from knee surgery.

Craig Bellamy is the only notable injury concern for Cardiff ahead of the trip to Anfield as he missed the win over West Brom at the weekend with a knee injury but hopes to fit for a return to Merseyside.  

Key stats

Luis Suarez is Liverpool's top scorer in the league this season with 17 goals.

Liverpool had 57% possession in their last league match, a 5-0 away win against Tottenham Hotspur.

Fraizer Campbell is Cardiff City's top scorer in the league this season with three goals. 

Cardiff City had 48% possession in their last league match, a 1-0 home win against West Bromwich Albion.

5 players to watch

Jordan Henderson - He put on an excellent display for Liverpool in their drubbing of Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and the midfielder will be keen to put in another impressive performance against Cardiff. A different challenge, but if he shows the same level of passing he did on Sunday, he could be integral into opening up a Cardiff side that will want to remain solid at Anfield.

Craig Bellamy - He might be struggling with a knee injury, but Bellamy will be doing everything he can to be fit enough for a return to Liverpool. He would get a warm reception at Anfield, but he will want to do everything he can to hurt his former club, and help give his side a massive lift by trying to get something out of the game.

Luis Suarez - If he keeps on scoring at the rate he does, he is going to keep on being a player to watch in these segments of our previews. 17 goals in 11 games is a staggering return, and the chances are he will be the stand in captain again.

Peter Whittingham - As always the middle of the park is going to be a key aspect, and Cardiff's hero from last weekend is going to be a key figure for both his passing game and his goal threat. A good display is needed from him,

Raheem Sterling - Having been in the side for the past four games, he had arguably his best display against Tottenham last weekend. Now it is a case of building on that display for the 19-year-old, as his burst of pace seems to give a torrid time to defenders when the youngster is facing them.

Last time they met

Cardiff City 2-2 Liverpool [AET, Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties] - Carling Cup Final February 2012

It was two Scots in the dugout as Malky Mackay led Cardiff to the League Cup final against Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool, and it was Dalglish’s man who eventually came out on top in this cup final, delivering the Reds their first trophy in six years and the only one that came about during Dalglish’s second spell in charge of Liverpool. They were made to work for it as Kenny Miller put Joe Mason through to give the Welsh side the lead which they held on until half time. Martin Skrtel equalised after Luis Suarez’s header hit the post which ultimately took the game into extra time.

Dirk Kuyt followed up his own shot on the rebound to give Liverpool the lead in the second half of extra time and had to be in action at the other end to keep his side ahead by heading off the line for a corner. From the next corner however Ben Turner stabbed home the equaliser after a bit of a goalmouth scramble. Penalties followed and the first three were missed by Steven Gerrard, Kenny Miller and memorably by Charlie Adam. Don Cowie scored for Cardiff, as did Peter Whittingham with Rudy Gestede missing in between. Kuyt, Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson all scored for the Reds as Antony Gerrard dragged his penalty wide to give Liverpool the win.

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