When Liverpool lost to Burnley in the second game of the season, there was an explosion of frustration among the fanbase. Possession, shots, and dominating the game mattered little when poor decisions were made in both attack and defence. The loss at Turf Moor felt all too familiar, all too disappointing. However, Liverpool's other league games have been against supposedly more testing opposition in Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, and Chelsea. Only Mauricio Pochettino's side avoided defeat and had to desperately fight back to do so.
With Hull City visiting Anfield, it's natural to wonder how Liverpool will fare. Breaking down teams weaker Premier League sides is a concern, one that Jürgen Klopp is aware of. Such doubts will rise once more if Liverpool fail to wrap up September with a win, and even with three points tomorrow, next month's fixtures against Swansea City (away) and West Bromwich Albion (home) may be a greater test of Liverpool's consistency than high-profile home clashes with Manchester United and Tottenham in league and cup action respectively.
Dejan Lovren is convinced that Liverpool have learned from the mistakes made in the 2-0 defeat to Burnley, but only a series of victories starting tomorrow will serve as irrefutable proof that Klopp's side can be counted on to gobble up points when expected to do so. Liverpool's fine start in the Premier League and EFL Cup could be besmirched without victory against Hull if the Burnley result doesn't appear to be the outlier that a new-look Liverpool would hope it to be.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3):
Liverpool made seven changes for the EFL Cup victory over Derby County and are expected to restore virtually all of those absent stars to the starting eleven tomorrow. With Daniel Sturridge going three days without training after a minor knock, he's most likely to drop out of the team with Roberto Firmino keeping his place in attack. Firmino dazzled against Burnley and was Liverpool's best player, making this a sensible move to make given Sturridge's history with injuries. The big decision, however, surrounded the question of who starts in goal.
Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius? Karius will start, and it should be an ideal week to make the former Mainz 05 goalkeeper Liverpool's first-choice option with plenty of home games on the horizon. Karius showed that he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and is inclined to sweep up behind his defence. Liverpool have tended to involve the goalkeeper quite a bit in recycling the ball with the demand that he maintains his composure when looking for a passing option, and more importantly, Liverpool needed to find an upgrade on Mignolet. This is the time to give Karius the chance to prove he can be what the club requires to step forward.
If Georginio Wijnaldum's knock keeps him out, Emre Can could make his first league start of the season after coming off the bench against Derby. Ragnar Klavan returned to action against in the EFL Cup and will be hoping for a spot on the bench. Squad regulars such as Divock Origi and Lucas Leiva are set to take spots on the bench with Danny Ings—who made his first appearance of the season in midweek—hoping to keep his place in the matchday squad. Sheyi Ojo is still injured, Joe Gomez is on his way back from injury but isn't currently involved with team training, and Mamadou Sakho remains in limbo.
Tactically, Liverpool and Hull should both continue with 4-3-3 formations they've used so far this season. Hull have used that formation in four of their five league games, but Mike Phelan may try to spring a surprise after last weekend's 4-1 defeat at home to Arsenal. There was a response against Stoke City, but Mark Hughes is presiding over a defensive mess at the moment. Hull were predicted to finish bottom of the league with investment lacking but made a few signings towards the end of the transfer window. To Phelan's credit, they haven't turned to those new signings just yet as the same eleven players have started in the club's opening five league games. None of those starting players are doubtful or injured for this game, which could result in an unchanged team for the sixth consecutive Premier League game.
Hull have won two and lost two of their opening five league games, and a promoted side cannot be ashamed of a late defeat to Manchester United along with a heavier one to Arsenal. Phelan inspired his side to shock Leicester City on the opening day and followed that up with three points away to Swansea City. Liverpool will have to be wary of set pieces with the creative Robert Snodgrass particularly capable of crafting openings from corners and free-kicks along with good vision in open play. Curtis Davies has been an inspirational figure in central defence and will hope to help his team repel Liverpool's attacks.
The Premier League is full of vultures searching for a way to feed whenever opportunities present themselves, but three points should be secured if Liverpool maintain the form shown against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. During weekends when the likes Manchester United host Leicester and Chelsea renew hostilities with Arsenal, Liverpool should use games like these to either make up ground or open up gaps. This is a large factor in how title challenges and regular Champions League appearances are made.
Kickoff is set for 3PM BST/ 10AM EST tomorrow with no coverage in the UK and NBC Sports Live/NBCSN in the US. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, Sportsnet in Canada, Star Sports 2 Asia in India, SuperSport 5Africa in Kenya, Astro SuperSport 3 in Malaysia, and Eleven Plus Singapore in Singapore are carrying the match. 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.