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Friday, October 26, 2018

Premier League 2018/19: Liverpool vs Cardiff City, Match Preview and Predicted Line-ups

Liverpool vs Cardiff City will take place at Anfield on Saturday after demolishing Red Star Belgrade 4-0 midweek in the Champions League. Cardiff, too, come into the game on the back of a 4-2 victory over Fulham last weekend.

Liverpool are second in the Premier League with an equal number of points as table-toppers Manchester City, whereas recently promoted Cardiff are struggling at seventeenth. Form and quality are on Liverpool's side but there is no hard evidence to suggest that Cardiff cannot give the Reds a run for their money.

[caption id="attachment_903" align="alignnone" width="580"]Salah remains Liverpool's X-factor Salah remains Liverpool's X-factor[/caption]

Mohamed Salah has returned victoriously from a goal drought, most recently netting two against Red Star Belgrade midweek, and one against Huddersfield last weekend. He remains the X-factor for Liverpool, and someone that Cardiff have to be prepared for. Jurgen Klopp will use him in the best possible way.

Supporting Salah is a now-fit Sadio Mane and an in-form Roberto Firmino in the attacking third, while Dutch colossus Virgil van Dijk and Scotsman Andrew Roberston provide solidity in the defence. Left-back Robertson has had a dream run in the Premier League so far, flying down the flanks to provide assists, and even returning quickly to maintain clean sheets.

James Milner, Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson have been blowing hot and cold, but the inclusion of Xherdan Shaqiri to the attacking midfield can change the whole dimension of Liverpool's attack. Klopp has inculcated a sense of belief and 'total football' style, which has brought success.

[caption id="attachment_904" align="alignnone" width="565"]Kadeem Harris (23) and Bobby Reid (14) are Cardiff's best hope against Liverpool Kadeem Harris (23) and Bobby Reid (14) are Cardiff's best hope against Liverpool[/caption]

Manager Neil Warnock will be the first to admit that Cardiff are not quite in the same class as Liverpool. However, a solid showing against Fulham in their last Premier League game will give the Welsh side confidence in their own abilities. Cardiff need a few points to stave off relegation, and a draw or win away at Liverpool will be fantastic.

Forwards Bobby Reid and Calum Paterson starred in the game against Fulham and they will again be the danger-men for Cardiff. They are ably backed by Kadeem Harris, Victor Camarasa, Aron Gunnarson and Josh Murphy in midfield, and will be hoping to get a few shots past the watertight Liverpool defence.

Cardiff City found an unlikely hero in the form of centre-back Souleymane Bamba, who had a brilliant showing against Fulham, and even provided the assist to Josh Murphy's goal. He will be hoping to put his best self out at Anfield on Saturday.

Cardiff will need the best from all their players and attacking tactics from Neil Warnock if they are to move away from the relegation zone, to which they stand very close now.

Liverpool can be caught on the counter-attack, and Cardiff must work towards achieving that. They should not get fazed by names or the atmosphere at Anfield on Saturday.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

LIVERPOOL:

Goalkeeper: Alisson

Defenders: Robertson, Van Dijk, Lovren, Gomez

Midfielders: Milner, Fabinho, Wijnaldum

Attackers: Mane, Firmino, Salah

CARDIFF CITY:

Goalkeeper: Etheridge

Defenders: Bennett, Bamba, Morrison, Manga

Midfielders: Murphy, Harris, Gunnarsson, Camarasa

Attackers: Paterson, Reid

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