Hull - Hull's
resurgence under new manager Marco Silva continued as goals from Alfred
N'Diaye and Oumar Niasse secured a 2-0 victory which leaves Liverpool
still waiting for their first league win of 2017.
Whatever the future holds for N'Diaye on Humberside, he is unlikely
to have many easier goalscoring opportunities than the one goalkeeper
Simon Mignolet gifted him in the 44th minute at the KCOM Stadium on
Mignolet dropped Harry Maguire's header from Kamil Grosicki's
right-wing corner, and although he was pressured by Abel Hernandez, it
should have been a routine save.
Instead, the ball fell at the feet of N'Diaye who added to the
growing concerns facing Reds boss Jurgen Klopp as he still awaits his
first league victory of the calendar year.
There was nothing the goalkeeper could do with the second goal, on 84
minutes, however as Andrea Ranocchia eased a spell of pressure by
punting the ball forward and substitute Niasse shrugged of Joel Matip
before finishing from a dozen or so yards.
Fourth placed Liverpool have won only once in their last 10 games in
all competitions, while Hull move up to 18th place in their battle to
Hull had actually faced problems even before kick-off, when defender
Michael Dawson was injured warming-up and Italian Ranocchia stepped up
from the bench to make his first start.
But Liverpool, boasting a talented forward line that featured Sadio
Mane for the first time since the start of last month, toiled to test
home goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.
On one of the rare occasions
they were able to do so, from a 22nd minute cross from Roberto Firmino,
the Swiss international fumbled his attempted clearance, presenting
Philippe Coutinho with the best chance of the game so far.
However, the Brazilian struck a downwards shot which bounced high, enabling Jakupovic to turn it around for a corner.
Matip summed up Liverpool frustrations when he rose unmarked to meet a
Coutinho corner but failed to find the target with his 15-yard header
and the visitors were soon trailing at the interval.
Liverpool's players were sent out before the start of the second half
a good two minutes before their opponents and their early play looked
more lively as won a series of corners.
One of those, from James Milner on the left, was snatched at by Mane
at the far post, with Matip also trying to make contact before Hull
Milner spied the Hull goal a few minutes later, after a right-wing
attack had broken down, but succeeded only in lofting a tame shot
towards the top corner for Jakupovic to catch.
The Hull keeper faced a far stiffer test just before the hour when
Coutinho's far-post cross was met by Mane, out jumping Andy Robertson
for an excellent header which Jakupovic did well to tip over.
Lucas and Matip had shots blocked in the same attack, from yet
another corner, but there were warning signs at the other end that
Liverpool's defence would be susceptible to the counter.
First, Tom Huddlestone neatly played through Hernandez although the
forward could do little more than flick an attempt into the side-netting
Hernandez was guilty of a more glaring miss moments later, allowing
Mignolet to block at his feet, after a superb pass from Grosicki.
Coutinho produced an equally bad miss, flashing a shot wide with the
goal beckoning, after Milner's effort had been cleared off the line by