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Middlesbrough vs Liverpool: Match Preview, Team News, and Ways to Watch

A quick turnaround for the Reds as they attempt to get their season back on track.

Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

After their impressive 15-game unbeaten streak came to an end, Liverpool have now taken five points from their last four matches, conceding six goals in the last two. Talk of title contention, so prevalent when they were top of the table mere weeks ago, has turned to hope that the Reds can hang onto their Champions League spot, amid tough competition from a number of sides struggling to keep up with a streaking Chelsea team. Confidence in Jürgen Klopp's, his transfer policy, training methods, and young team has transformed into player bashing and demands for a January splurge.

In other words, Reds fans are as erratic and fickle as any others, and will have another opportunity to prove this as Liverpool travel to Middlesbrough on Wednesday. The Yorkshire club currently sits in 16th place in the league, with one win from their last five. Aitor Karanka has put together a well-drilled defensive team, only conceding more than two goals on a single occasion all year, and holding Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City to four goals between them. Attacking potency has been sacrificed to achieve this solidity, though, and the Boro are the lowest scoring side in the league, having managed only 13 goals in 15 matches.

Former Man City striker Álvaro Negredo is likely to lead the line in a 4-5-1 formation, with former Liverpool target Gastón Ramírez providing support. Middlesbrough will look to sit back in formation and hit the visitors on the counter, providing Ramírez and Adama Traoré the opportunity to run at retreating fullbacks in space and at pace. Stewart Downing is usually in the squad and once shushed The Kop, so there's some narrative for you. Other former Reds are Daniel Ayala and Antonio Barragán, while highly decorated veteran Victor Valdés is between the sticks.

For Liverpool:

Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner
Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum
Mané, Origi, Firmino

Despite the quick turnaround, Klopp is unlikely to make big changes to the squad. Dejan Lovren is a doubt after a precautionary substitution on Sunday, which could make room for Ragnar Klavan, Lucas Leiva or Joe Gomez in central defence, while Emre Can's probably absence means that there are few options in central midfield. Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge remain injured, so the front three is also likely to stay unchanged.

The big topic of discussion all week has been Loris Karius, but there has been no indication from Klopp that he is considering reinstating Simon Mignolet in the young German's place, despite a pair of unconvincing performances.

The game kicks off Wednesday evening at 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST, and is set to be carried on NBC Sports Network in the US and Sky Sports in the UK. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.

We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.

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