Liverpool vs Reading - Match preview and team news
Liverpool are back at Anfield following the international break still looking for their first home win under new manager Brendan Rodgers. The Reds host a Reading side who are languishing in the bottom three and haven’t kept a clean sheet so far this season.
Prior to the international fixtures, Liverpool were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home against Stoke where the main topic of conversation was striker Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan was accused of diving by the Stoke boss Tony Pulis and has been under the spotlight for his theatrics once again in the opening stages of this season. Rodgers has maintained his support for the 25 year old and will keep him up front in his side as his attacking options dwindle once again.
Summer signing Fabio Borini has been ruled out for three months with a fractured foot and with Liverpool already short on attacking firepower, it is a cruel blow to the Anfield side. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina also faces a late fitness test on a minor hamstring problem suffered on international duty with Spain, but Rodgers can welcome back midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. The 20 year old is back available after serving his three match ban for his red card in the fixture against Manchester United at Anfield.
Reading have yet to pick up a victory in the Premier League so far, but can take solace from their two draws against Newcastle and Swansea in the last two outings. The last time Reading made the trip to Anfield resulted in a glorious 2010 FA Cup triumph, but Brian McDermott’s side will find it difficult to repeat those heroics. Reading hold a distinct lack of firepower, scoring only eight so far this term, and they will be hoping on Pavel Pogrebnyak who has looked sharp since making his switch from Stuttgart this summer.
They have a doubt over Noel Hunt’s fitness, who could be ruled out with a heel problem. McDermott can call upon Mikele Leigertwood, who has recovered from a dead leg. Striker Jason Roberts has been the focus of media attention this week after his comments over refusing to wear a KickItOut t-shirt this weekend. Roberts is protesting at the lack of action the group have taken over racism and it will be interesting to see whether he follows through with his words after receiving criticism.
Liverpool are desperate to grab their first home win of the season and this weekend provides an ideal opportunity against a Reading side who are struggling upon their return to the top-flight. Suarez found his goal touch on the road against Norwich in the 5-1 victory, but will be keen to grab more goals in front of the Anfield faithful and this weekend could provide the ideal opportunity.