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

To be played on Saturday 22nd March 2014 at 15:00. Venue: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff.

Odds: Cardiff City 17/2, Draw 17/4, Liverpool 2/5

Last season: N/A

Preview & injury news

Two sides with two very different ambitions but both of them need the three points. Cardiff could do with the points to aid their survival effort, whilst Liverpool are chasing their first league title in 24 years.

The home side currently sit three points from safety but have played a game more than some of their rivals. Having won their last home match against Fulham to show signs that they can survive in the division, they were cruelly denied a point after losing in the last minute to Everton at Goodison Park last week. Ever since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became manager, the Bluebirds have only picked up the seven points - and have only kept one clean sheet in the league. The Cardiff boss - being an ex-Manchester United player - would love nothing more than for his side to find form this weekend.

For Liverpool, they are on their best run of form in the league this season having won five league games on the bounce. Their latest was a comprehensive 3-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford, leading to several commentators and pundits saying they are real contenders for the Premier League title - whilst their fans are starting to believe. They currently sit second in the table, four points behind Chelsea with a game in hand. However, the title does remain in the hands of Manchester City who are two points behind Liverpool having played two games less. But with title rivals Chelsea and Arsenal playing each other this weekend, nothing less than a win will do for the visitors.

On the injury front, both sides have very few problems. Mark Hudson is unavailable due to a hamstring injury whilst Ben Turner and Andrew Taylor are both doubts with knocks. 

For Liverpool, they only have one player sidelined with Jose Enrique still recovering from a long-term knee injury. Lucas Leiva made his first appearance since January in last week's win at Old Trafford, and Mamadou Sakho returned to the squad.

Key stats

Here are the two team's top scorers in the Premier League so far this season:

Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 25 24 2,154
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FW 18 21 1,670
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 10 25 2,110
Fraizer Campbell Cardiff FW 5 29 2,087
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 4 30 2,700
Jordon Mutch Cardiff MF 4 27 1,544

Here are their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Liverpool 53.38 29
Cardiff City 44.50 30

And the amount of clean sheets the sides have kept this campaign:

NameClean SheetPlayed
Liverpool 9 29
Cardiff City 6 30

5 players to watch

Craig Bellamy - Bellamy has said that watching Liverpool lately is like watching their great sides from the era of Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. He will be hoping to get one over his old club this weekend in order to help his home town club beat the drop this season.

Joe Allen - Allen has put in some impressive displays of late which have started to win over the most sceptical of Liverpool fans - and he is sure to be in for a frosty reception given his ties to Swansea City. Can the midfielder continue to impress?

Jordon Mutch - Mutch could be a threat to Liverpool. A threat because of his height, his ability on the ball and his work in the middle of the park. The home side will be looking for a big performance from him.

Raheem Sterling - It will be interesting to see which position Sterling takes up. He has played for much of the season on the wing, and has terrorised opponents, but in the past two outings he has been played in a more central position in a diamond midfield. Where will he play this week? And what damage can he do to the Cardiff defence?

Fraizer Campbell - Cardiff's top scorer this season and a former Manchester United product, he would love nothing more than to add to his tally in this game - and for it to help Cardiff whilst damaging Liverpool's title challenge. Can he find the net this weekend?

Earlier on in the season

Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff City, December 2013 

The build-up to the game was dominated by the future of Cardiff boss Malky Mackay as Liverpool went top of the Premier League. Luis Suarez celebrated his new contract by opening the scoring from a terrific volley midway through the first half, before a Suarez led breakaway provided Raheem Sterling with a simple tap-in. Suarez got his second with a terrific curling effort on the stroke of half-time to secure the win for Liverpool. But Cardiff put in a spirited second half performance and Jordon Mutch headed home a free-kick just before the hour mark for a consolation for the Bluebirds.

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