AHEAD of Liverpool’s visit to Hull City we spoke to Will Jackson, football writer for the Hull Daily Mail, to get the latest on the Reds’ upcoming opponents.
Firstly, Hull currently sit 19th in the Premier League but do boast a better recent record than most of their relegation rivals, are fans pleased with how things are going?
Yes, definitely. Marco Silva has only been here a month and the fans are already singing his name. He has turned things around and, speaking as a fan, I think it’s only a matter of time before we get out of that relegation zone.
The only problem with this appointment is that he’s only here for six months and I can’t see him being here after as I imagine he’ll probably make the step up to a bigger club.
It is admirable that Hull have brought in Marco Silva and taken what seems like a big risk, rather than going for a ‘survival expert’ like Sam Allardyce, what is the general opinion around his appointment?
We’ve seen it before where foreign managers come in, they don’t get the results and they’re gone by the end of the season, look at Fulham with Felix Magath. So there was some initial scepticism.
But, it’s been a different level compared to when Mike Phelan was in charge, we’re a lot more organised defensively and that seems to be the big difference.
The players are thriving off the positivity the manager has brought as well. They’re always saying in press conferences that the work rate and the methods he uses on the training ground — physically moving players around to where they should be — in terms of that level of organisation, they seem to be really buying into it.
Do fans believe he could be the man to steer the club away from relegation?
We’re on a tough run of games at the moment with Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool this weekend and Arsenal the week after.
Once we start playing the teams in and around us we should start to see a lot more wins on the board.
Hull had a busy January transfer window making eight signings in total, including the loan signing of Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic, what have you made of Silva’s buys?
Markovic came off the bench at United first but made his first start at Fulham and had an absolute shocker, by all accounts. He just looked disinterested and like he didn’t want to be there. But then away at United on Wednesday he was a totally different player. Really good going forward, running at players, causing problems. He hit the post towards the end which could have won it for us as well, so hope to see more of that from him.
In terms of the other signings, Oumar Niasse from Everton has looked a decent addition so far. The three deadline day signings we made we haven’t had chance to see yet — except Andrea Ranocchia getting 20 minutes at Old Trafford, but we can’t judge him off that — so hopefully we’ve got a few debuts to look forward to on Saturday.
The other side to that have been the sales of Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass, have those departures increased resentment towards the owners?
Definitely, when they were sold there was outrage. There were rumours that both players were being linked with moves but nobody thought the club would actually let them leave until bids were accepted.
It’s just fuelled the fire against the owners and been seen as them asset stripping, so it’s not been the best situation.
But on the positive side, we’ve kept hold of Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire who were also linked with moves away. Robertson, in particular, had a bid from Burnley but Silva stood firm on that which was good to see.
The Tigers go into the game with Liverpool off the back of two good results against Manchester United, is that something which will give fans confidence going into the game?
On Twitter there are Hull fans that fancy a win over Liverpool, especially given Liverpool’s recent record and the fact they have struggled going to places like Hull. I know it’s optimistic but we have beaten Liverpool at the KC before so it’s not too hard to envisage three points this time around.
Silva clearly set up to frustrate and hit United on the break in their last meeting, is that something we can expect to see against Liverpool?
The quick counters were key in that game but also defensive pressing, which is something we’ve seen in every game since he took over. Being at home is a different kettle of fish, they’re there to be taken and I think he will try and take a few risks.
Compared to the long balls up to Abel Hernandez that we saw against United, I think we’ll see more of them trying to get it down and play.
Silva’s won three games at home in all competitions now so he clearly knows how to get his players playing in front of the home crowd.
Finally then, how do you expect this game to pan out?
I went to Anfield earlier in the season when Liverpool beat Hull 5-1 so I’m really hoping it’s not the same sort of game. Liverpool that day were just fantastic, pressing all over the field so it’s going to be another tough game, whatever the score.
If Hull can get an early goal then I would fancy them to go on and win it, though I think that’s the same with Liverpool — heads could drop. That first goal will be crucial.