Time is seriously running out for Reading in their bid to survive Premier League relegation this season, needing to overturn an eight point in the next six games to regain their top division status. The visitors to the Madejski Stadium will be improving Liverpool, with manager Brendan Rodgers returning to the club he managed nearly four years ago.
Reading boss Nigel Adkins – ‘The players are getting accustomed to what we’re looking for. We want to change the way we play but we also want to win games of football. It takes a period of time. We keep looking to the future and the progression of the football club. We’ve got to look to move forward. Reading won the Championship last year, we’ve now had a season in the Premier League and we’ve got a handful of games to go. We’ve got to keep learning all the lessons from this season and we’ve got to make sure we build on the previous success and have a mentality to play winning football.’
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers – ‘The players and supporters want to be in Europe and as a manager it is a great test. But you could argue having one season out would give us an even greater chance of challenging for the top four next season. Ultimately we want to be a club that is in Europe and we want to have a squad which is strong enough to be able to cope with European football and the domestic league and cups.’
Reading Team News:
Reading will once again be without key winger Jimmy Kebe, who is still nursing a groin injury. Another player who is highly unlikely to be involved is Hope Akpan, who has still not fully recovered from the knock he picked up last week against Southampton, which forced him off at half time. However, the exiled Daniel Carrico could be set to appear in the squad, after impressing Adkins in training.
Player to watch: Danny Guthrie
It was a much improved performance from the former Liverpool midfielder last week against Saints and he will hope to continue this against his former side. I can’t see him having a huge amount of the ball, so it will be interesting to see how he plays off the ball.
Liverpool Team News:
Brendan Rodgers will not be able to call on young winer Raheem Sterling, who is out of this game with a thigh injury. Further limiting Liverpool’s striking options is striker Fabio Borini being out for the rest of the season, alongside Martin Kelly and Joe Allen.
Player to watch: Coutinho
The young Brazilian has had a massive impact on the Premier League so far and will want to express his superb technical abilities in this game. Give him space and time on the ball, this lad can do damage.
Reading – 4-5-1: Federici, Kelly, Morrison, Mariappa, Harte, McAnuff, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak
Liverpool – 4-3-3: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Coutinho, Downing, Suarez, Sturridge
The referee for this game will be Mark Clattenburg.
I’m hoping the lads will try and play with a bit more weight off their shoulders, knowing relegation is virtually around the corner. Despite this, we always seem to struggle with sides that keep the ball with sharp movement and technical ability, so I can see another loss I’m afraid to say.
Vital Reading prediction: Reading 1 – 3 Liverpool
Reading – Norwich (A) – Saturday 20th April – Premier League
Liverpool – Chelsea (H) – Sunday 21st April – Premier League