Hull fully expose Liverpool’s problems at the back
David Meyler among the goalscorers at the KC Stadium
David Meyler of Hull City celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match against Liverpool at KC Stadium. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Hull City 3 Liverpool 1: Champions League aspirations can turn on days to regret such as this. Liverpool awoke to news that Daniel Sturridge is facing a lengthy lay-off and then produced a truly woeful display in his absence as Hull City recorded an emphatic victory. Tigers is a sore subject in these parts at present, but this was a mauling from Steve Bruce’s side.
Hull had scored only four league goals at the KC Stadium all season but almost equalled that tally in one afternoon courtesy of a polished performance and inept Liverpool defending.
Brendan Rodgers had denied before kick-off there was anything wrong with Liverpool’s defending but conceding three goals for the second game in succession must surely prompt a rethink.
Liverpool’s worst fears over Sturridge were realised with confirmation from Rodgers that the 11-goal striker will be out for “six to eight weeks” with an ankle-ligament strain. The loss of Sturridge would be a serious blow at any time, but will be keenly felt over a demanding winter period that includes trips to Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.
It was not the only fitness problem for Liverpool at the KC Stadium, where Philippe Coutinho was on the bench having not trained all week due to an ankle sprain.
Further upheaval arrived courtesy of Rodgers’s decision to recall Kolo Touré at the surprising expense of Daniel Agger, meaning Martin Skrtel had to shift across central defence, plus opportunities for Victor Moses and Raheem Sterling to stake a claim. The changes were reflected in a laboured display from the visitors who, despite dominating possession and forcing several corners early on, rarely threatened to break a disciplined Hull defence.
Bruce needed a reaction to two successive defeats, including a first home loss of the season to 10-man Crystal Palace last weekend, and used his programme notes to appeal for unity in the face of owner Assem Allam’s attempt to rebrand the club Hull Tigers.
“I am aware of your frustrations at recent happenings at the club,” the manager wrote, “but let’s not make it a distraction.”
Sadly for Bruce, his request was undermined by Allam’s criticism of the ‘City Till We Die’ campaign group in a Sunday newspaper. “They can die as soon as they want,” said the Egyptian-born businessman, “As long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football.”
Allam’s inflammatory comments at least ensured a bristling atmosphere at the KC Stadium. “We’re Hull City, we’ll die when we want,” was a fine riposte from the home support.