Thanks to http://www.tomkinstimes.com – Grown-up views & intelligent discussions on Liverpool FC

LOCAL NEWS
BAHRAIN – will be having their second match gathering for LFC Bahrain Supporters at Tracks “Crown Plaza Hotel”. Note that LFC Members will receive a 20% discount on the total bill amount. Snacks will be available free of charge.
OMAN – Mohd Shaikh is safely in the Far East, and will not be ringing the bell, so it is up to one of you to pick up the baton!
QATAR – we will be back in the Shehrezade sports bar in the Radisson this week. To boost attendance, lets make this a bring a friend match!

MATCH PREVIEW
Liverpool travel to the Madejski Stadium where they face bottom side Reading in what will be just the tenth official meeting between the two sides. The Reds secured a 1-0 victory at Anfield back in December with Raheem Sterling
scoring his first senior goal for the club, which gave Brendan Rodgers his first league win at Anfield as Liverpool manager. Our last league encounter at the Madejski Stadium ended in a 1-3 defeat back in December 2007. Steven
Gerrard equalised Hunt’s opener before two second half goals from Doyle and Harper sealed Reading’s victory, which is their only league triumph over Liverpool to date.

Premier League record since the two clubs met back in October:

Liverpool – P: 24 W: 11 D: 7 L: 6 F: 49 A: 28 GD: +21 Pts: 40
Reading – P: 25 W: 5 D: 5 L: 15 F: 28 A: 49 GD: -21 Pts: 20

Reading are currently on a seven game losing streak in the Premier League – they also lost seven consecutive games earlier in the season – and can lay claim to having lost the most games (19), conceded the most goals (63), kept
the fewest clean sheets (three) and have won just five times in the league all season (Q.P.R. have won fewer games with four). Only Wigan Athletic with 32 have conceded more goals at home than Reading’s total of 31 prior to this
fixture.

Liverpool have the third best defensive record at home this season with 14 goals conceded in 16 matches, Chelsea with 13 goals against them and Man City with 11 goals conceded boast better records. Manchester City are also the only side to have kept more clean sheets than the Reds with 14 compared to our tally of 12.

The match-day official for this fixture is Mark Clattenburg

TEAM NEWS

Fabio Borini (shoulder), Martin Kelly (knee), Raheem Sterling (thigh) and Joe Allen (shoulder) are ruled out through injury, while Stewart Downing (illness) is doubtful.

Goalkeepers: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Henderson,
Strikers: Downing, Suarez, Coutinho,

It is hard to see beyond the usual back 5 players. Skrtel could get a recall to redeem himself, but it is unlikely he will displace Cara or Agger. Equally Wisdom might get a rare start but unlikely as this game looks perfect for 2 attacking wing backs. Having said that Johnson has been nursing a toe injury…

There was a lot of false hype last week, generated by twitter, pushing the rumour that LFC had never lost when starting with Lucas, Gerrard, and Henderson. (They had lost 2-0 to WBA) However, the reason it was such a good lie, is that it is so believable. Those 3 in midfield compliment each other very well, with Lucas providing defensive solidity and screening for the back 4 (he has made more tackles in the league than anyone else) Gerrard pulling the strings from the middle of the park, and Henderson the energetic box to box attacking midfielder, pressing the opposition when out of position.

It was great to see Coutinho start and do so well against West Ham (notwithstanding the result) and I expect him to start again. He just won the player of the month award for March and I can’t think of anyone else who deserved it more. Suarez has gone through a slightly barren patch by this seasons standards, but he has had a week to rest and must be champing at the bit. Assaidi had a rare and brief sub appearance last week, and whilst his attributes were on display, with direct and exciting running, the negatives were also there with crosses never going to a red shirt.

I would like to see Sturridge start in this game, but it seems BR has lost faith in the striker, or prefers a different tactic. Either way, I expect BR to start Downing, Suarez, and Coutinho.

STATISTICS

Liverpool’s overall league record against Reading:

Home – P: 3 W: 3 D: 0 L: 0 F: 5 A: 1 GD: +4
Away – P: 2 W: 1 D: 0 L: 1 F: 3 A: 4 GD: -1

Biggest away win (overall): 2-1 (7/4/2007)
Biggest away defeat (overall): 1-3 (8/12/2007)

TRIVIA

Steven Gerrard has made the most appearances against Reading with eight, with two goals to his name while Fernando Torres is our top scorer with four goals from five appearances.

Just one player has left Reading to join Liverpool and even he was originally a Liverpool player before making the move to Merseyside. Alf West left Anfield for Reading in June 1909 for an unknown fee then made the move back in the opposite direction the following year, again for an unknown fee. West made 141 appearances scoring six times during his two spells with the club, and was a member of the 1905/06 title winning team. West was fortunate to even be alive as is noted on LFChistory.net:

“West had been training for a 120 yards handicap and finished his preparation with a week at Lytham. Everything was complete, and he, accompanied by his trainer, went to take the final spin before leaving for Keswick where he was due to run the following day. Not having had much practice at starting with the pistol it was decided to adopt this method. Whilst the trainer was handling the weapon, it accidentally went off and West received a bullet under his right shoulder. He walked away some 200 yards, and then, staggering, fell into his trainer’s arms. Fortunately the
bullet did not penetrate the lungs, but spent itself by travelling along the outside of the ribs to the front part of the chest.” West was in critical condition as he had been actually been shot with two bullets just above the
heart by trainer William Norman “who was naturally much upset.”

James Bradley (1911; unknown fee) and Robert Done (1935; £150) both later followed Alf West in making the move from Liverpool to Reading although neither player were involved in bizarre shooting accidents of note.

ODDS
Home win 25%
draw 25%
away win 50%

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