Hull City managed to brush aside a struggling Liverpool team 2-0. A debut goal from Alfred N'diaye and Oumar Niasse in each half helped the black and ambers secure a 3rd straight home premier league win against the pools. There was a lot of optimism from the tigers fans ahead of kick-off and it was justified splendidly. The away side put out their best, or near enough to their best team, with Mane returning from the AFCON cup it gave the reds supporters that bit more glimmer of hope.
There was a fairly early penalty appeal from the away side, Henderson picked a sumptuous ball to the Returning Mane down the centre-field. He knocked it down into the path of Firmino who unleashed a shot just outside the box, originally blocked by Maguire but the ball bounced up and flapped Robertson on the hand. The referee gave a 'no penalty' which I thought was the correct decision.
Liverpool's captain once again picked out beautiful wide ball to Firmino on the left. The Brazilian winger skipped past Elabdellaoui and chipped in a ball to the 6-yard line which Jakupovic came out to collect, under pressure from fellow team-mate Harry Maguire he dropped the ball into the path of Coutinho who was smothered by the 'keeper and Tom Huddlestone to force a corner. A save on a certain goal! Bad mistake but great effort to make it up.
Evandro had the majority of the away team in his back pocket the full game, evidence came when he dispossessed Mane and tried to send out-of-form Hernandez up toward goal, Joel Matip had a distance advantage. The ball landed into the path of Mignolet. Debut signing N'diaye pressed hard up the field and Emre Can gave the ball away to an advancing Grosicki who won a corner. Silva introduced a new weird set-piece at corners. Clucas and Grosicki both stood over it. An out-swinging ball went over the head of 6 ft 6 Ranocchia and found Maguire behind the penalty-spot. The hopeful England call-up centre-back headed it downward and the ball bounced up for Mignolet to catch which he failed to keep a hold of, the ball fell into the path of Senegalese debutant Alfred N'diaye to tuck home from very close range.
Hull 1-0 Liverpool
Liverpool did have an early second-half threat when Adam Lallana left Ranocchia grasping for the England International down the left edge. Cutting in he sent a wide ball to Mane in the box, the advancing Pool's player rose above Robertson and looped a header what looked as though it was going in, but of course Jakupovic was in goal to claw it away, reaching back he had to get a lot of power on it to keep it out, and that he did, Maguire then later cleared. Astonishing save.
Hernandez then scuffed a chance after a great counter-attack made by the home side, Polish winger Grosicki used his exploding pace, then put in a perfect through ball for Uruguayan Hernandez to collect, unfortunately he hit it and the 'keeper smothered the ball, a possible rued mistake.
A corner from Liverpool was cleared only as far as Henderson, who gave it to Mane a bit further wide, he dinked a ball back into the box. The ball ended back to Milner at the by-line, the veteran full-back then hit a shot which bounced out to Coutinho who embarrassingly hit is wide from 6 yards out.
Oumar Niasse replaced Hernandez in the 65th minute and made a large impact. Mane made a damaging run down the right flank, Robertson tracked the speedster all the way to the box before putting in a perfectly timed sliding tackle, debutant and Inter Milan loanee, Ranocchia, picked up the ball, he immediately sent a ball through the middle of Matip and Lucas for substitute Niasse to get his chance to shine. The striker looked as though he had messed it up when Matip got close enough to tackle him, this didn't affect the big forward, instead he coolly placed the ball through Mignolet's advancing legs to give the tigers a well-deserved win!
Hull 2-0 Liverpool
One last chance came for the red half of Merseyside, a corner put in was half-cleared by Clucas but only as far as Henderson, the midfielder had made some fantastic passes, so now it was time for his chance to shoot himself. A thunderous shot from outside the box looked as though it would land in the top corner, Jakupovic was more than equal to it, a divine save!
Hull fans, what has Marco Silva changed to get these results? Let us know in the comments below!