After yet another mid season international break, LFC host relegation threatened Reading. Reading are yet to win a game with only Norwich and QPR below them. LFC kept their first clean sheet in the league against Stoke City but couldn’t secure a first home win in the Premier League of 2012/13 with the match finishing 0-0. That goalless draw with the Potters means our home record remains badly in need of improving. We’ve yet to win from four league encounters at Anfield this season and going further back to last season, our home record stands at six wins from 23 matches.
There have only been eight official games between the two sides, with all eight played following Reading’s first ever taste of top flight football in 2006, with four of those encounters coming in the Premier League. The Reds met Reading twice in the League Cup 3rd round stage in consecutive seasons: 2006/07 (won 4-3) and 2007/08 (won 4-2). Liverpool then met Reading in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in 2010, drawing the first game at the Madejski Stadium 1-1 before losing the replay at Anfield 1-2. The last league meeting at Anfield saw Liverpool seal a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres.
Whether it is fair or not, Suarez has now managed to become the most hated man in English football, and so now, the only thing that he can do now, to really change that, is next time he is badly fouled, but not too badly, is to ask the referee NOT to award a yellow card. Only an interruption of the pattern will make anyone re-evaluate their opinion of him. However it is done, an image make over is required or I fear he will be hounded out of the EPL by the media
There is a slight grudge element to this match, as Rodgers was manager at Reading for a brief period before being fired over poor results, and then ending up at Swansea…
As I said when the fixture list first came out, Rodgers is likely to be under pressure early in the season if results did not go his way, with tough games against Citeh, Manure and the Arse. Now, he has had 4 months to settle in, and the hardest games are out of the way, his honeymoon period is over. Fans will expect this game to be a convincing win, and if not, I expect murmurs of discontent to start bubbling…especially with 2 Anfield legends still living in Merseyside. Reading are there for the taking and are the calibre of team that must be beaten if LFC have any aspirations of top 4.
However, the biggest obstacle to 3 points is the available and fit personnel. The probable line up is very difficult to guess with so many injuries and fatigue being a factor.
Reina (hamstring) Agger (fatigue 2 games for Denmark) Skrtel (knock) Kelly (knee) Wisdom (knock) Johnson and Gerrard (fatigue from postponed England game) Flanagan (injury) Robinson (knock) Coates and Suarez (fatigue flying back from Sth America) Borini (foot) Leiva (tear)
Assuming every one of those mentioned does not play, we could end up with a team like this…