Just six weeks ago, the very concept of Hull City earning three points against Liverpool was practically non-existent. Yet an inspired display that was testament to Hull's organisation and discipline earned them a valuable victory as January signings Alfred N'Diaye and Oumar Niasse netted for the hosts.
No penetration for the visitors as they are forced to play in front of Hull
Liverpool never settled into a rhythm as they continuously lost possession in critical areas. Without a genuine target man for the majority of the game, a tight 4-5-1 Hull unit were able to keep their visitors at arms length in front of them. Despite Jurgen Klopp's men continuing their flexible approach with players swapping positions, there was no penetration as the highest player in their 4-1-4-1, Sadio Mane, spent much of the game with his back to goal.
The Reds ended up going backwards more often than not, a ploy that suited Hull's midfield, particularly Evandro who dropped off from the number ten role to steal possession on numerous occurrences. After soaking up Liverpool passes for long periods, a youthful Hull side were able to spring and counter with pace and energy. When the visitors did manage to create opportunities they inevitably fell to Phillipe Coutinho, though the normally reliable Brazilian had left his radar on Merseyside, whilst Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic continued his excellent form with a second consecutive clean sheet.
More defensive worries for Klopp
A major worry for Liverpool will be their defence. Although Simon Mignolet was undoubtedly at fault for N'Diaye's opener when he dropped the ball at the Sengalese midfielder's feet, Klopp would have been glancing at the rest of his squad for what unfolded in the build-up. Jordan Henderson was responsible for marking Harry Maguire from Evandro's corner but did not once look at the ball as he was unable to fend off the central defender. The rest of Liverpool's defenders then switched off as both Abel Hernandez and N'Diaye glided into the six-yard box with no red shirt in sight.
Hull also benefited from Liverpool players not in their favoured positions. James Milner at left-back was constantly caught out of position as Kamil Grosicki and Omar Elabdellaoui were given freedom to pounce. The former England international was fortunate to not be made to pay but his teammate Lucas was towards the end of the game. The Brazilian was filling in at centre-back and completely misjudged a long ball to allow Niasse in behind. The Everton loanee then showed great composure to seal three points for the Tigers.