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Hull City 1, Liverpool 0: First Thoughts

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Liverpool looked second best and Brendan Rodgers never addressed a number of seemingly correctable problems, leading to a difficult defeat that kills any last, faint hope of a top four finish.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

liverpool blog fc sbn

Hull City 1 Dawson 37’
Liverpool 0

  • With the top four all but out of reach and Liverpool’s season essentially over, there had been widespread reports young striker Samed Yesil would be given a chance to impress from the start. Instead, he didn’t even make the bench, while Mario Balotelli got another chance—albeit as a lone striker, a role in which he’s struggled in consistently since arriving at Liverpool. It perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, then, that he once again struggled in it.

  • As against West Brom, Rodgers went with an unorthodox back four that saw Emre Can playing at right back without the ball but shifting into the centre of midfield when Liverpool had possession while Jordon Ibe provided width. And as against West Brom, as a tactic it was more intriguing than effective.

  • With the match starting slowly, it took until the tenth minute for the first good chance. It fell to Hull after Lovren lost his man in the box, but Mignolet bailed out the centre half. Ten minutes later, Liverpool’s first good chance saw Coutinho sting Steve Harper’s palms.

  • Hull were the better side in the first half, and when Michael Dawson headed home off a corner in the 37th minute Liverpool could have few complaints. Balotelli was slow to come out and played Dawson onside, but the corner had come from the space Liverpool’s odd approach—and Can’s struggles—gave Hull to exploit down the right.

  • No changes to start the second meant more of the same problems for Liverpool, and it took until the 63rd minute before they had a decent chance on goal. It took until the 65th minute for Rodgers to make any changes, when he brought on Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana for Balotelli and Ibe. The problematic formation, though, remained.

  • With the match winding down, Rodgers tried bringing on Markovic to inject some much needed energy. Nothing came of it, and Liverpool whimpered their way to defeat in the match just as they seem to be in the season. And most worryingly for Brendan Rodgers, it has begun to appear as though—similar to the final days of Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish at the club—many of the players are no longer motivated to play for him.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.