Cardiff City vs Liverpool
| Sunday, April 21st |
Premier League | Cardiff City Stadium
4PM GMT/11AM EST
As Liverpool continue their death battle for the title, and we’re all desperate for them to win the next game and the next, it’s easy to lose sight of just how well they’re doing this season. They head to Wales on an eight-game league winning streak. They coasted through the quarter-finals of the Champions League, beating FC Porto 6-2 on aggregate. The Reds will be flying into Cardiff City Stadium on Easter Sunday to take on the Bluebirds.
Neil Warnock’s men are almost certain to go down. Currently in 18th place, they’ll need a miracle to keep themselves up this season — probably bigger than the other one that’s being celebrated that day. Their only silver lining is the big relegation-battle victory they won against 17th placed Brighton midweek.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that Liverpool will need to win all of their remaining games to seal a title victory this season, so every match from now until the end will feel hugely significant. So long as the Reds can handle the pressure, they should be able to see their way past Cardiff City, who have had a tough season.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané
The most interesting place to look at the Liverpool line-up on Sunday won’t be the midfield, as it usually is, but the defense. With Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez both likely healthy and ready for action, it will fascinating to see if Joel Matip keeps his place beside Virgil van Dijk, or if he’s replaced by one of Klopp’s other options.
Naby Keita continues to be in a good moment, so it’s likely we’ll him, along with Henderson who has been doing the absolute business game after game. The front three is likely to be the usual, but Klopp might consider this game a good time to give one of them a break, as he did midweek. Seems unlikely considering how important these last games will be, but if Klopp is looking for a place to rest players, this game seems like the last remaining opportunity.
Somehow — and for pete’s sake, knock on wood — Klopp has made it to the end of April will a completely healthy team, aside from the still-missing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Neil Warnock, on the other hand, will be without Sol Bamba, Callum Paterson, who scored at Anfield during their last meeting, Aron Gunnarsson, Harry Arter, Matthew Connolly, and Alex Smithies.
Victor Camarasa has scored in his last two league games, including their victory against Brighton, so Warnock will be counting on him to make some magic happen on Sunday.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “These are all massive games. None of them are won before we start. Everybody thinks a lot about Barcelona but before Barcelona it’s Cardiff and Huddersfield, and it’s exactly the same importance to us as the other games.”
Neil Warnock: “We’ve just got to try and give a good account of ourselves for the fans that are going because it’s a sell-out - and it probably could’ve sold out twice more. It’s going to be a great day. I don’t want it to be a lovely occasion but we still get battered.”
Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Stephen Child, Harry Lennard Fourth official: David Coote
Kickoff is set for 4PM GMT/11AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, 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 the action as it happens.