Liverpool did not have a great post-Christmas, with losses at Manchester City and Chelsea consigning the previously high-flying we-have-got-Luis-Suarez-so-we-are-unstoppable-side from first to fifth in the English Premier League table.
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Come Wednesday, New Year's Day, Brendan Rodgers will target a reversal of fortunes and a return to winning, title-challenging ways when Hull City, fresh from a 6-0 thumping of Fulham, come pay a visit to Anfield.
"At Manchester City, we were outstanding but didn't quite get the result," Rodgers said. [Against Chelsea] we showed moments of the quality we've shown throughout the course of the year and this season. We were unfortunate with the first goal, and the second one was a poor goal from our perspective.
"It shows you, even with the group we had, to keep the game so tight and I'm sure Chelsea are very happy with the win, everything about the determination and the will I have in the squad. I can give them nothing but credit.
"We're disappointed with the result, but we have taken on two squads that are some of the strongest in Europe. For us, it demonstrates again the work we have to do. It's open. What I'm looking forward to is the second half of the season; we have to play every team except Manchester United at home.
"We have had all the tough games -- Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle, Everton -- we have had to play all of them away from home. Anfield is a tough place to come now, so we have got all of them to play at home in the second half.
"It's still very much open. On Christmas Day, we were top of the league; a few days and games later, we're fifth. I think that's the way it will go between now and the end of the season."
Liverpool, however, will want to forget their last game against Hull, when Steve Bruce's side brushed them aside 3-1 at the KC Stadium at the beginning of December. Rodgers acknowledged Liverpool were poor on that day, and does not expect his side to repeat the same mistakes.
"We know it's going to be like any other game at this level, a very tough game," he said. "They're coming off the back of a victory that doesn't happen too often when you're in the Premier League, especially when it's 0-0 at halftime. It was a terrific result.
"We were very disappointed in our performance level there. We were nowhere near the standard we would expect, but you have to give credit to Hull - they exposed that on the day. But we aim to make sure that no matter what squad or team we put out, we don't make the same mistakes again because home games are vitally important for us."
Team news: Liverpool: Some positive news for the home side on the injury front, with Steven Gerrard expected to come into the squad after returning to training following a hamstring problem. "Steven has joined back in training, so we'll see how he is for Hull, and I would think that probably by the Stoke game [January 12] we'll have a number of the others who'll not be too far away," Rodgers said.
Other problems persist, however, with Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho joining Daniel Sturridge, Jon Flanagan and Jose Enrique on the injury list.
Hull City: Sone Aluko (calf), Robbie Brady (groin) and Stephen Quinn (hamstring) remain sidelined.
Key men: Liverpool: All eyes will be on Gerrard, if the skipper is made available for the game. Also Jordan Henderson will look to step up and link with Luis Suarez more after flattering to deceive against Chelsea.
Hull City: Tom Huddlestone was instrumental in Hull's 6-0 thrashing of Fulham, and the former Tottenham midfielder will look to dictate the pace of the game from the centre of the park.
Expected lineups: Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Cissokho; Lucas, Gerrard; Sterling, Henderson, Coutinho; Suarez.
Hull City: McGregor; Rosenior, Davies, Chester, Figueroa; El Mohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Boyd, Koren; Sagbo.
Prediction: 2-0 to Liverpool
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